Confession. I sometimes struggle with the Shop Small movement. It's not because I don't agree with it - I wholeheartedly do. It's just that I can't always afford it. That is the sucky position most people are put in.
See SALTY HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE #01 here.
It's so much easier to buy a t-shirt for $12.99 with free shipping on Amazon than to purchase one on Etsy for $25.99 with $3.99 shipping - but the people who are selling on Etsy or their own platforms have to charge that amount to make any sort of actual profit. (And they deserve to be compensated for their time and talent!)
About a year ago, I became an Amazon affiliate. I figured if people are going to use Amazon anyway (and they - we - will) why not at least use it to support my family? That's how Amazon became part of my own small business. If you can't beat them, join them, right? LOL.
ANYWAY, I tell you all this because I like to be very transparent and I want to come across as helpful, not judgmental or insensitive. If you can't shop small all the time, I get it. Honestly, I feel bad when I watch Hallmark holiday movies sometimes, because usually I'm scrolling Amazon (or Target, or Walmart) instead of shopping at the toy store on the town square with the handmade dolls and blocks.
I understand you have to make financial decisions to take care of yourself and your own family. My suggestion- something I'm learning to do myself - is that you make a commitment to shopping small at least SOME of the time, even if you can't always do it. Maybe 3 gifts a year come from a small business, or maybe you can lessen the number of gifts you give your kids in exchange for giving them higher quality ones and teaching THEM how important it is to support each other. Or maybe treat yourself, and instead of feeling guilty, remind yourself that you're giving something in return by choosing to shop small.
And this doesn't have to be just around the holidays!
Photo from Crochet Cuddles Co on Etsy
A lot of our wonderful followers have their own small businesses, and I'm going to post some of them here. Take a few minutes to scroll through their content. If you can't purchase something right away, make note of the store for the future, or maybe share the link with someone you think would like it, or just promote their products on your own social media accounts. No act of generosity is too small.
Isn't that the essence of holiday spirit?
These stuffed animals and toys are truly ADORABLE and I'm not just saying that because there are mermaids in this shop. These are the types of stuffed animals that can survive being passed on for generations. They're truly an investment.
Are you saving money with Amazon Family yet?
Look, things rarely go the way I plan, but that doesn't stop me from trying. I'm not saying I'm a control freak (fine, I AM) but I like to know about things well in advance so I can mentally prepare for them. Most of my life is chaos, but I do prefer structure when I can get it. And you may think that I learned something from 2020, but nope, because the moment I received the message about this epically-designed planner, I bought one.
This is the one I picked out, even though I also really liked the striped one, tooooo. And I'm giddily awaiting its arrival - because adulting is dumb and we get excited over weird things like writing down doctor's appointments and making to-do lists.
I'm not big on jewelry, but I'm obsessing over these collage pendants and the glass bale pendants. They're just so pretty and unique! I think it's the bookworm in me that appreciates eclectic stuff like this. This shop also sells journals, pouches, postcards, wall art, and supplies.
I honestly can't resist a good coffee mug, tumble, or wine glass, so it's only natural for this Etsy shop to be on my blog. The really cool thing is that you can also get personalized content thru this store - ornaments, wine bags, and t-shirts just to name a few.
"Curated artisan jewelry for the timeless individual." That's directly from the website. I don't think I could add anything to that.
Not only is this boutique full of my style of clothing and accessories, it's mama-owned and operated, AND it gives back! There's trendy stuff for the whole family, which is super convenient, and when you purchase something from here you are getting a cool product, supporting a small business, and making a give-back donation... I mean, that's money well spent.
A quote from the owner:
"We are a give back company founded on the belief that everyone has the chance to rise from whatever circumstances or life chapters they may be going through and start new (redemption). I opened this store as a single mom of three with four bucks left to my name, and have created a blended community or all walks of life, while supporting local small businesses all while giving back to our community."
These handmade candles don't just smell nice, they're SUPER freaking cute! They come in containers you're gonna want to keep, which is always a nice little bonus. For added fun, you can even purchase your own candle making kit through this shop!
With nearly 500 sales so far, this shop has maintained a 5 star rating, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know. You can use my discount code OSOJENN15 for 15% off!
Last but certainly not least, I wanted to mention our friend Laura. She is a hardworking single mom with a full time job, but she always finds time to be there for others. She's very thoughtful and generous - the person who not only shows up to help you move into your new house but also brings you drinks to celebrate and who sends your kid a light-up firetruck when she finds out he had to get his leg put in a cast.
Laura is a very creative person and on the side, she makes thoughtful, sentimental gifts like these. Not only are they handmade, they're extremely reasonably priced AND during the holidays, she donates 10% of her sales to Toys For Tots.
To order from her, slide into her DMs on Instagram: @LSL_REALIST
Laura made this collage for us and we get compliments on it all the time!
A quote from the creator herself:
"This day and age we take so many pictures with out phones but don't take the time to print and display. I personally don't have the best memory so all throughout my home are pictures. They help me remember the good, the accomplishments, the sad, the hard, but most of all the (love). This is a fun unique item... Each picture I hand cut and arrange along with phrases or other images that describe the people it is for."
It's not always easy to shop small, but when you do, remember you're genuinely making a big impact. To see more delightful small businesses and gift ideas, click here.
Jenn Scott Pickett is a freelance writer for hire who specializes in parenting and lifestyle content. She is half of the comedy duo that makes up Salty Mermaid Entertainment based in Atlanta, GA. In her free time - Wait. She's a mom of three. She doesn't have any free time. Learn more by clicking here.