For me, what feels right happens a day later--Small Business Saturday. Even though there's a tie-in with American Express, this is a grass-roots movement to encourage people to spend money with small, mom-and-pop enterprises and avoid Big Business.
On Small Business Saturday, I will get a lot of my holiday shopping done. Here are the places I'll be hitting:
My local mom-and-pop jewelry store. Their stuff is gorgeous, the prices are reasonable, and I know when I spend money there, I'm helping the owner and his wife put one child through college and the other save for his upcoming wedding. I buy charms there for my two grand-nieces.
The toy train shop. Every community bigger than a breadbox seems to have a train hobbyist shop in it. I go to mine for the best in model trains for one of my grand-nephews.
My neighborhood yarn shop. This independent yarn shop has far more beautiful yarn than any hobby mega-chain. And the ladies are happy to help me if I get stuck on an instruction! I'll be looking for yarn to knit a project for a certain somebody.
Several thrift stores and flea markets. Oh, how love I junking! My favorite finds lately? All-white bath towels (so easy to bleach, look good with any decor), wood picture frames, snowflake ornaments, and a variety of Christmas ornaments (for tying on packages or giving to my Christmas-observing friends). I can't mention a few other things I'llbe looking for on Saturday, because some of my holiday gift recipients read this blog. Heh.
My local used-books store. A fantastic place to find total deals on books, maps, and prints. My local one even has a shop kitty! Without fail, the people who work at these places seem to be knowledgeable, friendly, and eager to help you find what you're looking for. Can you tell what I am looking for, below?
Beading shops and local beaders. Okay, so I cheated on this one because I've already bought my beads. But my point? There's a small army of talented beading people out there, making beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewelry. Just Google 'em. I just commissioned this lovely necklace from a very gifted young lady I know.
And what makes it even more special: The round turquoise beads and the pink, lozenge-shaped ones are from clothes that used to belong to my Nana. If you live in the central California area, contact Beads by the Bay in Morro Bay. It's a full-service shop, with beads and findings as well as finished jewelry for sale, and lessons in a delightful pagoda in the back garden. Tell them Juli says "hi."
Vintage and/or resale clothing shops. My friend has one, just a five-minute bike ride from my house, and although she carries label and designer items, absolutely nothing is ever over $100. Almost every town large enough to have an intersection has a clothing resale shop. Think outside the box--buy a beautiful sweater and turn it into a wintry pillow cover. Earrings and pins make beautiful ornaments to hang on a tree, tie to a gift, or repurpose as pendants on a necklace. I'm going with an open mind, just to see what I can find. And to say "Hi" to my friend.
(I love my friend so much, I let her doll me up like an ageing, French tart in stuff from her store and put this photo on her shop's website. I may regret this decision. Or not. )
Local bakeries. If you can't bake, or don't have time to bake, get to your local little bakery and nab a freshly made pie or cake or batch of cookies as a hostess gift or a present for your neighbor. If you live in a city, there's probably an ethnic bakery close by that has some fantastic specialties to make a nice, last-minute gift.
Local coffee house. After a busy day of shopping on Small Business Saturday, I will buy myself a pick-me-up cup from my local, independent java joint. Mine has sofas and overstuffed chairs inside, a garden outside, WiFi, an attached gift shop with a French flavor, and a welcome smile whenever I drop by with a pug in tow.
That's big. And a fitting end to Small Business Saturday.