Hello and Happy Black Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start. I certainly love buying gifts for the holidays, and I’m thrilled the Christmas season is officially here!
I love this time of year. The decorating, shopping, baking, music, and constant stream of Hallmark Music are so wonderful! No matter your family’s way of celebrating the Holidays, there’s always time to appreciate each other and spend time together.
One of my favorite parts of the holidays is buying the perfect gift for people. I love hunting for that gift which will bring a smile or a laugh to someone I care about, and I love thinking about how that recipient will react to the gift. The last few years I’ve started to drift towards buying smaller, unique gifts. I love shopping local to find something one-of-a-kind that I know my loved ones will appreciate.
And Guess What?!?! Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday!!
This is such a great day to support shops which work so hard to produce handmade goods. Over the years I discovered many of those local shops and gifts also give back to the community. Whether that be from the purchase of an item, a certain part of the purchase goes towards a cause, or a duplicate of the item goes to people in need; I love knowing my gift can be stretched even further. This lends so much more meaning to each gift I give over the Holidays!
I also love supporting small businesses who put so much effort in to their product. Bringing a gift from these stores or companies to the holiday party works in twofold: the recipient now has a shiny new gift and the business where it came from gains recognition. It’s really a win-win!
So, here are my favorite companies I’ve discovered over the years who create hand-made authentic products which make for some great gifts. Many of these also give back somehow!!
1// Love Your Melon.
I absolutely Love LYM. This company was started in Minnesota with the intent of letting kids battling Cancer know they are not alone. The company has since grown from a group of college students to hundreds of college campuses across the United States. I was first introduced to Love Your Melon at Luther’s Dance Marathon, an event supporting research for Children’s Cancer. The hats, caps, and accessories sold by LYM all benefit Cancer Research and for each cap sold, one is donated to a child fighting Cancer. I really love all the beanies, especially the Rose Speckled Pom Beanie and the Honey Speckled Beanie.
PS-If you happen to be at the Mall of America, stop by! They currently have a booth set up with the Pinky Swear Foundation. Go check em out!
2// Great Lakes Collection
Great Lakes Collection is one of my favorite “Up North” Apparel companies with classic, comfortable designs. You’ve probably seen my White Harriet Island Hat before here on the blog, and I love their products! This company started out small in Minnesota with the intention of celebrating the simple moments of enjoying life with family and friends around the lake. Their wholesome brand is conveyed so well through their products and each item is made in the US. Right now I have my eye on the boat tote and long-sleeve Vintage Tee.
PS-They have a 20% off sitewide sale going through Cyber Monday with the code: GET20.
3// Local Boutiques: WildBelle
I love popping in to local boutiques and picking up one-of-a-kind pieces for my wardrobe. Lately, I have loved heading to WildBelle Boutique and picking out something to wear. Full of lace, soft fabrics, and western flair, WildBelle offers a great variety of products as well as jewelry made by local artists. Right now I’ve got my eye on the Sophia Lace-Up Top and Light-Pink Blanket Scarf.
4// Sponsoring a Child/Gift Giving: Operation Uganda
Gift giving can go well beyond the holiday season. There are plenty of businesses which offer wide-reaching gifts. Operation Uganda focuses on education of girls in Uganda as well as empowering communities who have endured hardship. You can pay to sponsor a child, donate money to building schools, paying for medical supplies, books, the list goes on. I love too you can purchase a soccer ball for kids! Any gift here goes a long way!
5// Heifer International
Heifer International is an organization which gives live animals to communities in need across the globe. Based upon the principle, “Teach a Man to Fish”, Heifer teaches people how to support an animal given, such as a cow or goat, and how to take that gift further by taking care of it, breeding it for more animals and milking it. This gift helps to teach families of self-reliance and takes gift giving to the next level. You can check out Heifer’s catalog here.
I was surprised to find out that the beauty company, Lush, takes their products to the next level by giving further to charities across the world. The company fights for ethical buying, 100% Vegetarian products, and is against animal testing. I love that by supporting this company, you are also supporting ethical products. Lush donates money to volunteer-based organizations looking to solve issues across the globe. I’m pretty sold, and now I’m eyeing these Bubble Bars. Anyone else a big Lush Cosmetics fan?
7// The Company Store – Comforters
The Company Store donates a comforter to a homeless child for each comforter purchased. These comforters look comfortable and classy!
8// S’Well Bottles
If you haven’t heard of S’well’s goal to rid the world of plastic bottles, well you’ve probably seen these bottles toted around by someone nearby. These popular bottles are durable and stylish. The company also donates money to UNICEF with the goal of providing clean drinking water for children around the world.
9// ElisaAnn Calligraphy
ElisaAnn Calligraphy is run by Elisabeth Young, a small business out of Georgia. She makes the most beautiful calligraphy pieces and I know personally just how much effort she puts in to her art. Her work is customizable. I would highly recommend checking her Etsy site out!
10// KniftyLittle Thing
KniftyLittle Thing is a knitting business run by Kristen here in Colorado! She makes one of a kind pieces which are both durable and stylish! The holidays are always a good time to give some warm winter gear, so why not stock up now? You can now shop on her Etsy site for 20% with the code: MERRYANDBRIGHT.
There are really so many companies that give back or support local businesses. I love finding unique shops in a downtown setting or browsing Etsy for a new find.
What other small businesses will you be supporting this Saturday? I’d love to hear in the comments below!