Posted on 6 Comments

Handmade Holiday Gifts ~ Part 1

Last year around the holidays, I made a big deal about the importance of supporting independent artists and local small businesses. I recently posted on my facebook fan page about my intent to do the same this year. My goal is to promote independent artists and businesses (including my own).

One reason that I am so passionate about this is that your purchase from a big box store is really just a drop in the bucket of their profit margin; while your support of an independent artist actually has a powerful impact on the life of an individual! Buying handmade also benefits you and your intended recipient, in that you’re choosing to give something unique — which (at least in my book) is wonderful and special.

“Y is for Yule” via

Another reason that I’m so vocal about this is that there were several years when the holidays were really really stressful for me. I made myself crazy and spent far more than I could afford, trying to make everything perfect — and by the time the holidays arrived I was uptight, angsty and disappointed. It occurred to me that the reason for this was that I had become a very well trained consumer — and in the process, I lost sight of the things that really make the holidays magical and special for me. Sappy as it sounds, those things are family, love, comfort, and taking time to relax and reflect on the year behind me. For the past 4 years I’ve made a concerted effort to focus on those aspects of the holidays, and it has made a tremendous difference in my stress level and satisfaction! I’d like to share that serenity with you.

Our consumer culture is so driven by the media push to “buy, buy buy” and to “act quickly!” and “don’t miss that super gonzo mega sale!” that we actually think that we have to do these things in order to express our love to our family and friends! Really, we don’t. Black Friday is a media construct and we can opt out, or at least seek meaningful alternatives. We can choose to do things with the folks we love and we can make things for them; if you’re not the crafty sort or you don’t have time to make things, then please consider doing your gift shopping with independent artists!

Tree topper via

In the coming weeks I’ll showcase handmade items that I love, in the hopes that you’ll support these amazing artists too — or at least feel inspired to support other artists and small businesses. I’m also going to spotlight special treats that you can give or do for yourself, because self care is SO important this time of year! Hopefully, I can do this in a way that is tasteful and low key; it is not my intent to bombard you with more pressure to consume. I simply want to offer positive alternatives that I hope will help you to create a more serene and meaningful holiday season.

6 thoughts on “Handmade Holiday Gifts ~ Part 1

  1. Hi…it’s me ArtSings….from the etsy faeteam forum…I’m following you now. I love this post and couldn’t agree with you more, especially about supporting the local artist and businesses. I am trying to get my art business going in order to support myself and my family. Buying from individual artists makes such a difference in their lives and I am a firm believer of positive energy … this goes a long way to make the world a better place.
    Peace, Happiness and Abundance to ALL !

  2. It would be fantastic if there was a massive FACEBOOK holiday push in terms of Public Relations for etsy, positioning it against the corporate big box brands that Occupy Wall Street is investing so much in exposing for their role in our economic and political failure, not just in the US, but globally.

    This holiday season is a ripe opportunity to promote the general notion of limiting our holiday shopping to small retailers, handmade and secondhand. Hopefully by next holiday season will have captured a massive portion of ebay’s marketshare.

    A lot of people are promoting a boycott of Christmas completely but I say why not just boycott the corporate retailers in favor of the out of work 99ers and the 99% whose lives are being played with like game pieces by these global corporations who aren’t creating jobs anyway, they’re dangling them like carrots to gain political leverage. They deserve nothing.

  3. Well, I’m attempting to do my small part on facebook (via my fan page) by encouraging folks to buy handmade & local.

    I’ll admit to very selfish reasons for hoping that people do not boycott the holidays all together — my small business, as well as many of my friends’ small businesses, would be devastated by that!

    The big box stores on the other hand? I doubt it would hurt them much at all — but it would send a very powerful message! There are so many people pushing for change right now. I think one of the most positive changes that we can make is to start being more mindful about who and what we are supporting.

    Greedy corporations that skirt taxes and pollute the planet do not deserve your hard earned dollars; but there are real people out there who are working to add beauty to the world, and whose small businesses actually stimulate your local economy. Supporting us ripples out to benefit our communities and our planet, too!

  4. I couldn’t agree with you both more, except that I do think that boycotting the big stores and corporations and not buying stock and changing our banking to credit unions will work … we just have to be persistent and patient and stick together through thick and thin. I’m sick about what happened last night and it shows Bloomberg’s true colors … he’s shamefull and shameless and has no empathy or compassion like the 10% who have most of the wealth (I do believe that ten percent have most of everything in the world). But, since I do believe in positive energy and thinking I have to get off of this and wish everybody Happiness, Peace and Abundance….there is enough for All !

  5. Oh, just to be clear — I DO think that boycotting the big box stores/huge corporations is an effective plan. It’s boycotting holiday spending across the board that scares me, since that could crush a lot of small businesses.

    One of my facebook friends said it really well: “Purchase gifts that are made/sold by people, not corporations. Put the money directly in the hands of one another!”

  6. Hi Drea. I love what your friend wrote about putting money directly in the hands of one another. And I agree about buying from small business, local if you can, and of course, directly from the artisans.
    It would be much better to pay more from these people and actually consume less. Quality not quantity…it will help save the planet and we can still enjoy life.
    Peace and Happiness to ALL !

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