Before Christmas, I posted a comment on Facebook about how I had managed to do almost all of my Christmas gifting by shopping local and/or small business and/or making things myself. Somebody said they’d like to see my resources, and, with Christmas still ahead of us, I couldn’t post it then. So here you go.
Well, to be honest, the makering was pretty slim this year. I managed to do some lavender trivets (and matching dishtowels) for the sisters-in-law. I got the lavender from White Oak Lavender Farm. Even if you’re not looking for lavender products, it’s a great place to check out. They have a lovely petting zoo on the farm. Silas got to pet and feed rabbits, miniature horses, goats, and sheep. There were also ducks (but they didn’t want any petting). Silas helped me assemble the trivets, too. If you were a recipient, and the stitching was not quite as even and pretty as you would normally expect from me…here’s why:
So, that was about it for the handmade stuff. I had a baby to hold!
Here’s the shopping run-down.
Small Businesses (not local)
Well, I was all over Etsy this season. Etsy is basically an online craft fair. When I saw friends and family wasting their money for a decade on internet poker and eBay, I pridefully thought, “The internet is never going to find a way to take my money.” Then Etsy appeared, and I realized that I was so wrong. I pretty much have my Etsy shop to offset my Etsy habit. 🙂
Here’s what I got from Etsy this season:
A suffragette art doll from Lenae.
An under-the-bike-seat tool roll from E. H. Works.
Some “seed bombs” from VisuaLingual.
…And one other thing that hasn’t been gifted yet, and shall remain secret for a little longer.
Jim LePage is a graphic designer. He did a project called “The Word,” where he created designs for each book of the Bible. We ordered some of his prints for JC’s dad and brothers-in-law. Even if you aren’t especially into the Bible, you should check out his work. He has a neat take on things. Here are the ones we got:
For Justin, the only athlete in the family:
For Jeremiah, a pharmacist:
For Jamie, who has a side job as a preacher:
Lastly, for Clayton:
This year, all of JC’s siblings went in on rockers for his parents. His mom had asked for gift cards to buy rockers from Cracker Barrel, but … well, no. Sorry, but no. My mom has a rocker that was made just a few miles from where I grew up, in West Virginia, and she always gets compliments on it. She’s ordered a number of them over the years, as presents for various people, and she gave me the craftsman’s information. The business is Attaway Rockers, which, as far as I can gather, is just Tom Doak and his wife, churning out these beautiful rockers and porch swings. I have rarely had a custom ordering experience that was this detailed. Tom wanted to know about my in-laws, about their bodies (“Are they tall people?” “Not exactly…”), where they would be rocking (“Indoors or out?” “Both?”), how much room they would need (“There are some grandkids involved…” “Got it! A little extra room in the seat), and on and on. We asked him to use walnut and oak, since one of my sisters-in-law thought those were her parents’ favorite woods. How’s this for local–not only were the chairs made eleven miles from their home, the woods were all from West Virginia, too.
I thought the final product was great, and I think JC’s parents did, too.
I got some random things for Silas, as well as some of the fabric for the stuff I made, at Gift’n’Thrift. In my opinion, it’s the best of the many thrift shops in the area. Proceeds go to support Mennonite Central Committee’s work in the developing world, too, so it’s shopping for a good cause.
Speaking of shopping for a cause, I got one present and a wreath for our house from fundraisers for Our Community Place, a Christian organization that works to help people in our town who are down on their luck in one way or another. I’ve been impressed with their work and growth in the past several years, and I’m happy to support them.
I checked out new baby boutique Over the Moon shortly before the holiday. I was desperate for a place to nurse Petra, who was starting to lose it, and they graciously let me park myself right in the middle of their opening event and feed her on their couch. After she was sated, I browsed around and bought her Christmas present. It’s so nice when they’re little enough that I can shop for them with them there. Silas is already past that stage.
I picked up a few books for various recipients at the Green Valley Bookfair (also known, in my family, as “the happiest place on earth”). If you live in the Valley and have not visited the Bookfair, you are missing out. Just…fix this. Trust me.
I hit up the Dayton Farmers Market for holiday baking supplies, cheeses, chocolates, kitchen thingies, and some teaberry gum, which you can’t find anywhere else. That place gets better every year.
Probably the best local gift I bought this year was one for the whole family (but especially for my immediate family). It was a bit before the actual holiday, but while we’re talking about patronizing local businesses, I want to give a hat-tip to the one where I spent the most time and money this year. Brookhaven Birth Center helped us welcome Petra into the world. One year, we bought ourselves a stove for Christmas. Another year, it was insulation. Our gift to ourselves this year was having Petra’s birth in the way and the place that we wanted. Worth every penny.