Gifting is serious business around here. Our staff doesn’t take it lightly, for real. We want our gifts to be things people will actually use and love. Bonus points for everyone involved if you’re able to support small businesses by buying locally or shopping small biz online. The great thing about the internet is that it allows you to do just that: support small businesses from all over without having to leave your house, which is really a win-win for everyone, right?
Ways to support small businesses
First stop, Etsy: The low hanging fruit when it comes to shopping small is Etsy. Etsy is like hitting the jackpot of one-of-a-kind items made by small business owners and is pretty much a no-brainer for one-stop-shop artisanal gifts for everyone in the family and beyond. And attention pet lovers: there are some fantastic pet portraits you can get right now. It’s not wrong to want a pop art portrait of my cat like this, right?
Shop your local record shop: Did you know that this year is the first time vinyl record sales are poised to outsell CDs for the first time since 1986? Chances are the millennial (or OG) in your life has an ever-expanding collection they’re looking to expand with new records, old records and everything in between. And one of my favorite gifts to give people is music. It’s personal, fun and timeless. And what could be more personal than that one single you know they’ll play for years on end?
Head to your local book store: Yes, Amazon is convenient to purchase books from, but do you get the camaraderie you’d normally get by swinging into the mom-and-pop book store? Most definitely not. Go check out amazing curated book selections, journals, rare magazines and more. Just gonna share that locally, I’m super excited that Issues is open again in Oakland—you can find your closest spot via this handy tool.
Breathe fresh life into old objects by way of your favorite vintage or antique shop: One of my favorite gifts I’ve ever received was a set of vintage wine glasses from Mignonne Decor (longtime friend of the site). This might be more of a know-your-people type of gift shopping, but if you know the type of keepsake they’ll love for years to come, I say go for it.
Go to a craft fair: One of my favorite things this time of year are craft fairs. Makers bring out their best and latest work, creating a prime shopping experience with goods local artisans plus a great opportunity to meet vendors you haven’t heard of yet. All you have to do is a quick search on Google to find the ones closest to you.
I’ll admit that a good portion of this roundup is comprised of artisans and small businesses from the Bay Area (because that’s where APW calls home), so we’ve also rounded up some of our favorites from across the web to share with you.
Our Favorite Gifts from Small Businesses
This is a beautiful personalized ceramic ring dish or general jewelry holder—or, honestly, a catchall for any small items. Several APW staff members have similar dishes on their desks to catch rings, bracelets, earrings, and paperclips (you know, the normal stuff shed by femme’s as they type).
Hand-blown colored glass made by artisans in Poland to add a pop of color to any party—and will ensure none of your guests ever mix up their glasses again.
Now you don’t have to say anything—just point to the sign.
Naturally colorful solid hardwoods make this organically finished balancing toy both lovely to look at and a great learning tool for little minds and big minds too.
These sakes vary from extra-dry to sweet, to suit your mood for any occasion or meal. One-cups are a great way to try new sakes!
Half brass and half… covered in a speckled pattern. Not cow, or maybe it is cow? Dalmatian? Whatever you see, it’s cute AF.
Love Iguehi is Meg’s actual literal round the way neighbor. She makes so many great things, but this clutch with a unique pattern that will stand out wherever you go.
Enter at your own risk. This dog is too cute. Err, too adorable.
You love pizza and now your cats will too!
Give me a V! Give me an O! Give me a T! Give me an E! What’s that spell? Buy this shirt! (Vote, it spells vote.)
Because you want EVERYONE to know who owns the jewelry.
Plants are healing. This will help you drink more plants.
Lounge around elegantly while being draped in art. Specifically, art made by some of APW’s longest time friends. Win, win.
Philz is a local institution for those of us in the Bay Area, and now you can send it anywhere with this gift set that includes coffee, a mug, and a tote bag.
If you’re looking for the perfect modern Judaica gift for Hanukkah, pickings can be slim. But thanks to Ariel Tidhar, Jewish jewelry is getting a modern makeover. (Meg lives in her Ariel Tidhar jewels.)
Give one of these to all eight of your best friends.
Ferns are unique in land plants in having two separate living structures, so the fern plant that we see out in nature produces spores, and those spores, when they are released, don’t grow straight back into a new fern plant. Okay, nature talk over: there’s a fern print on this scarf and it’s beautiful.
Buy this beautiful planner and promise yourself that you’ll actually use it for more than three days before giving up because you can’t plan your life at all.
File under things you tell your kid to do when they’re at other people’s homes and not yours.
Etta + Billie’s luxurious products have a devoted following, and no wonder. Everything they make is top-notch and smells, well AH-maaaazing.
These are crazy crayons and you can customize them. It’s a match made in heaven.
This slip skirt is the perfect gift for all seasons and one of Meg’s favorite wardrobe staples in her closet. (Plus, you’ll be supporting a Jewish woman owned body positive business.)
I don’t know how you got this, but… you got this. Message yourself, a friend, or the universe.
If you’re not going to put your friend’s face on a throw blanket, this is the second-best option. Who doesn’t want to snuggle up with leopards and flowers?
You freeze these rocks instead of using ice cubes of frozen water, so they keep your drink cold without diluting it. These ones are especially cool, with their fun shapes and unique colors.
White Rabbits are a milky semi-hard candy originally from China (and very popular there too.) The inner wrapper is made from rice paper and you can actually eat it. They are SO GOOD—good enough to celebrate with this fab print, as a matter of fact.
Therese Kuempel handmakes all of these lighter cases, and they are a thoughtful gift for anyone in your life with a candle obsession.
Support our very own small biz by purchasing the second edition of Meg’s book (available for pre-order now, out in the world on December 17, 2020) for the newly engaged folx in your life through IndieBound, a community of local independent bookstores.
What are your favorite small businesses to shop for gifts at? Tell us all about your favorite mom-and-pop shop in the comments!