I'm not sure what's up with me these days, but I've jumped on board the holiday bandwagon much earlier this year than ever before. Maybe it's because I have a kid that is old enough to "get it" this year or maybe it's because the world seems to be such a sad and scary place lately and thinking of the holidays at least makes me happy. But whatever the reason, I'm in the mood for the season! And I'm really excited to get a jump start on my holiday shopping in the hope that December might not be as crazy as it's been in years past if I'm not struggling to buy ALL THE THINGS at the last possible minute. Ideally, I'd love to have all my shopping done by the end of November, leaving the last month free to focus on family, holiday activities and fun. We're once again doing an activities advent calendar (which I'll share) and have some really fun things planned.
And speaking of shopping, I'm also vowing to make a conscious effort to #ShopSmall this holiday season. I have a say in where my money goes and I'd really like to be sure to support small shops and boutiques run by individuals and parents and families. Instead of going to a giant corporation, I want my money to go towards a child's education, dance lessons or a family's mortgage. Shopping small means that more money goes back into the economy, into our cities and neighborhoods. Shopping small encourages individuals and creativity and entrepreneurship. So, in that spirit, I've put together a quick list of some of my favorite little shops, boutiques and creative minds to support. I hope you'll consider shopping small for some of your gifts this year too.
Sugar Bit - My dear friend Natasha runs this amazing and absolutely adorable online children's boutique. She carries ALL of our favorite brands, like KicKee Pants, Toobydoo, Hatley, Babiator, Flit & Flitter, Silkberry, Zutano and Pink Chicken. She's also got a great selection of gifts, accessories and stocking stuffers. The most fashionable stuff for every kid on your list.
Z Dough - The most amazing, silky and vibrant homemade play dough you'll find on the market. Available in at least 12 different colors and scents. Stays softer way longer than any store bought play dough and comes in adorable little tins for quick and easy storage. I love this Fun Pack, set of your choice of 6 colors. Don't forget that you can also add GLITTER to the dough! Use the coupon code YAY10 for 10% off all orders placed before December 18th.
StampJoy - I'm madly in love with the return address stamps from this little Etsy shop. Choose from a huge variety or amazing designs or work directly with the shop owner to create your personalized custom stamp. Comes in a self-inking stamper or a traditional wooden stamper. This one is my personal favorite - so classic and pretty.
Dolce Ave - Another shop run by a friend (and former blogger), Megan has the most gorgeous and affordable jewelry and accessories for all your girlfriends, co-workers and family members. Personally, I own quite a few of her necklaces and get so many compliments on them. I've already purchased a number of gold and black tassel keychains for everyone on my Christmas shopping list (sorry to ruin the surprise).
Head Hand & Heart - This shop will create the most adorable custom-made family portraits, cards or family trees. If you can't get things together for "official" Christmas card photos, do this instead! Guaranteed that everyone will be smiling and look adorable! I love these prints - you might remember the portrait Christina did of our little family when we announced we were expecting Mim. I love the idea of doing a custom family tree for your parents/grandparents or a wedding party portrait for newlyweds.
The Wheatfields - Although she's been getting tons of publicity lately, Katie Daisy has the most gorgeous, colorful and inspiring watercolor prints around. Based in nature and focused on all things flowery and beautiful, the designs are perfect for gifting. I've given my stepmother this print, given this one to a few friends and this one is hanging in Mim's nursery. I can't get enough of them!
Margaux Makes - I discovered this adorable shop on Instagram and have already ordered a set of their amazing and colorful fabric magnetic letters and numbers for our playroom magnet board. This shop specializes in handmade plush learning and sensory toys (letters, numbers, phonics, spelling, reading, counting, math, etc.). Their products are bright, colorful, functional and make learning fun. These letters/numbers will be perfect stocking stuffers for Mac.
cuddle + kind - This is a family run business out of Canada that recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to promote their adorable hand-knit dolls. There are 9 dolls to choose from, each with their own story, name, personality and birthday. But even better, for each doll purchased, 10 meals will be donated to hungry children through the World Food Program USA and the Children's Hunger Fund. You will not find a cuter doll with a better cause. Mim was lucky enough to receive a cuddle + kind doll and we immediately fell in love with them. Boy and girl versions of the dolls available.
BTR Woodworks - If you're looking for a cool and manly gift for the dad/husband/grandpa in your life, check out the awesome wood products from this shop. I think the barrel stave bottle opener would be perfect for any beer drinker and the iPad stand would be awesome to use while viewing a recipe in the kitchen. They do custom orders and some items can also be personalized.
Fish Kiss - If you have love for California, Colorado, Florida, New York, Texas, Montana or Wyoming, you absolutely must check out this adorable shop. Their state collection consists of the most adorable products (from baby leggings to pillows/blankets to prints), featuring gorgeous hand-drawn state maps. Personally, I'm obsessed with the entire Wyoming line, since we got married in Jackson Hole and I want this print to hang on my map wall. The baby blanket is also on my list for my friends with new babies in Colorado and Texas (there's another surprise ruined).
Name In A Wooden Box - I am beyond obsessed with this shop and their awesome personalized shape sorters for kids. I love that you get to pick your colors, letters, shapes, etc. and each box is hand-made to order. While not local (Bulgaria) and may not be available in time for Christmas, keep this idea in mind for future toddler birthdays or baby shower gifts. This one might be coming our way soon for Mim.
Sweet Auburn Studio - I recently discovered this shop through a friend that lives in Alabama and have fallen in love with the adorable products they offer. I'm slightly obsessed with the tassel bracelets and necklaces and the personalized monogram leather bracelet. If you're looking for something to get me this year, I'll take anything from this shop!
Habitat Imprint - If you've got a super-cool hipster husband, brother or nephew to buy for, this is where you should be shopping. This SoCal shop offers the coolest environmentally-friendly bamboo skateboards, sunglasses and speakers. And of course you can personalize it to your heart's desire.
Sadie Sky Boutique - This is my go-to boutique for all the adorable bows and headbands that Mim wears. The owner Jess is amazing and has perfected the little leather bow. She's recently branched out to some apparel and other accessories that I can't wait to get my hands on. I love the denim bow and Mim wears this platinum leather bow all the time. You can bet that her stocking will be filled with Sadie Sky bows this year.
Hello Apparel - While not exactly "small" anymore, Hello Apparel is an independent company that started out as a way for artists and musicians to design, manufacture and sell their own merchandise. I still love their signature Hello shirts, which now comes in the uber-trendy buffalo plaid and their I'm So Tired/I'm Not Tired mama/baby merch.
Wooden Caterpillar - Another not local (Russia), but amazing small shop that specializes in beautiful hand-carved wooden toys for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. All the items in the shop are organic and are designed to help children develop creativity, pattern recognition and fine motor skills. They offer a variety of baby toys, wooden teethers, teething rings, rattles, stacking toys, balance toys, lacing toys, sensory toys and farm/forest animals. I love this set of leaves lacing toys and the Waldorf animals.
Southern Trade Mark - If you're shopping for any Southern lady that loves a good monogram, this is your shop for all things trendy, personalized and monogrammed. Personally, I love the tassel clutch, the blanket scarf and the faux leather travel tote, but I don't think you can go wrong with anything in this shop.
Drake Designs Jewelry - Of course I love personalize jewelry for moms, but I my favorite two products from this shop are for dads. This really cool copper keychain would be a perfect way to memorialize your children's names or birthdays, your anniversary or any special words or numbers that mean something to you. It's subtle, yet sentimental. I also love the hidden message tie clip that can be personalized on both the front and back.
Gray Monroe - Last, but not least is this awesome women's clothing boutique, run by the always fashionable Jenny Collier (blogger extraordinaire and mom of two). I love Jenny's blog and I'm totally smitten with the items in her shop, particularly the Alicia dress, the Laura vest, the Allison top and the Angela cardigan.
And because I love you, I'm joining up with some of my favorite blogging ladies to give away a little extra cash for your holiday shopping! Just use the Rafflecopter below and you could win $60 cold hard cash!
Do you have plans to shop small this holiday season?