Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas And Other Fun Gift Ideas

This year for Christmas, I have decided to buy all of my gifts from small business owners.  Several thoughts/ideas have brought me to this conclusion:

1.  Caren has been on a rampage (for at least as long as I've known her) over how many products are made in China.  Since we often shop together, it has been brought to my attention numerous times.  What's most frustrating about it is that there will be American created products, i.e. the product was thought of here, invented here; but then it is produced in China.  It's cheaper for these American companies to have the Chinese make it for them but at what cost to our own economy and to our own citizens?  Caren's goal, at this point, is not even necessarily to Buy American but to just not buy Chinese.  Even Ugg boots are made in China now.  Come on World!

2.  This whole Occupy Wall Street thing has gotten me to thinking too.  Let me make it clear that I believe in Capitalism.  It is good and it works.  Money is power and power corrupts but I am all about a free economy.  There are kinks and Jerks that get into every system especially when money is involved.  If one really wants to give it to Wall Street they need to make their voices heard.  Money talks much louder then any number of people sitting outside of the Trade Center.  If you want to stick it to big corporations then don't buy from them.  Seek out local artisans and craftsman so you know that your money is going directly into the pocket of your fellow American.  These small business owners went into business because they know that capitalism works. 

So stay out of WalMart, Target and the mall!  (I can hardly stand the mall at Christmas anymore.  Greedy, selfish hoards in stores proclaiming their Season's Greetings in flat political correctness.  Blah!

Instead consider some of these things:

A gift certificate for a salon appointment.  My sister, Dawn The Hair Extraordinaire, does amazing things with a pair of shears!  She lives in Austin, TX and works at a local barber shop there.  She does great hair for men, women and children and she can even go to your home.  Maybe you know someone who could use a whole new look or you can treat them to hair and make up before a big event, like New Year's Eve.  A girls night of make-overs would be a fun thing as well!  You can contact Dawn at

Another great gift (and Austin contact) is that of professional photography with April Thomason.  She has an amazing eye and whimsically romantic style!  A fun idea may be to hire Dawn to do your hair and make up before your photo shoot with April...  I might also add that Dawn and April both have connections in Houston and it's surrounding areas and so can often be convinced to do work out there.

I love my masseuse!  No one has better hands then Jolene!!  So for my local friends, here in CO, I would highly recommend gift certificates from Willow Creek Wellness.  An hour massage is a great gift for a teacher, friend, or spouse.  A REALLY great gift would be a massage, once a week for a month... OH yeah....I can smell the aroma therapy oils now...  Jolene can be contacted at

There are fun things to be found at The Perfect Stitch as well.  Stacey embellishes shirts, bags, onsies, etc with beautiful embroidery and bling-bling work.  You can see more of her crafts here

Do you live in the Dallas/Plano area and need treats for your party?  Sugar Queen Cupcakes will take care of you!  A fun gift idea may be a gift card to Sugar Queen for an after school date with your kiddos!  They have more than cupcakes there.  You can find fun t-shirts and gifts.  Plus they are the home of the Official Cupcake of Texas! ;)

Check out this little shop!  Don't they have the greatest things!  Southern Joy is based in Tennessee.  They are an eco-friendly gift shop that boasts beautiful hand crafted jewelry, spa gifts and more!  I am in love with their jewelry. 

This reminds Etsy, people! This is a huge resource of handmade gifts.  Here is a fun etsy shop with cheeky little accesories:  Leilani's Heavenly Flowers

I plan to hit local boutiques and specialty stores like Rustic Point in Evergreen.  Conifer and Morrison have all sorts of fun shops to explore.  Back home in Texas, I used to love to shop around in Downtown Tomball and Old Town Spring. 

A great source for stocking stuffers is Hammonds Candies.  Hammonds is a candy factory in Denver, CO.  They are a small factory that makes all of their beautiful and delicious candies by hand!  You don't have to go to Denver to find Hammond's Candies.  They have been featured in O! magazine, Martha Stewart and other similar periodicals.  They are the largest company featured here but I think they qualify because everything his American made and they are a small company compared to say...Macy's, though you may find some Hammond's Candies at Macy's....

Another wonderful shopping idea is at places that take what you give them and give a part of the proceeds to a charity.  Sevenly sells cool t-shirts that sponsor a different cause a week.  Freedom Fashionista's website reads, "Every girl wants amazing style. Explore our sustainable fashions and let your new style sense provide empowerment and employment for women rescued from or at-risk for slavery."  Check out their cute PJs here.  In fact this link is devoted to listing the various sites where one can by gifts that help fund anti-human trafficking programs.  These gifts go way beyond the boughs of your Chritmas tree and branches out service to the world.

Gift cards to Mom and Pop restaurants are another great idea.  The gift of landscaping, personal trainers, the ideas are endless!  If you have a small business that you'd like to plug, please feel free to do so in the comments.  I'm looking for good ideas....  Heck, I suppose I could plug myself:  Decorator/Party Planner/Custom Art ;)

I love Christmas!  No matter how it got started or what it evolved from, I love that the world takes time out of the year to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  No birthday party is complete with out gifts and buying your gifts from small businesses gives two fold: to your loved one and to your neighboring entrepenuer.

A few more ideas:

paino lessons
contract work for your home
dog training

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