I’ll just say it. Black Friday gives me the creeps. I can’t think of anything more in contrast with the season than shopping on Thanksgiving night for a deal on electronics. I plan to stay as far away from that madness as possible. Here are my tips on how to stress less, and make holiday gift giving more enjoyable.
01. Support small online businesses. Support an artist! They will be so much more thankful for your purchase than Wal-Mart, Target or Best Buy ever will be. I’ve seen a lot of Etsy shops listing Black Friday discounts, so you can still buy handmade and get a great deal. Here are some of my favorite online shops.
- Artsyville. Aimee sells happy colorful prints and other goodies at her Etsy shop. May I suggest this artist manifesto print for your artist friends? I love this, and think one might find its way into my home soon.
- boygirlparty. Susie makes the most adorable illustrated gifts.
- Sellwood Soap. I am a huge fan of this natural soap made in Portland. My favorite is the citrus bar soap.
- Nan Lawson Illustration. I haven’t ordered anything from her yet, but I’ve got my eye on several prints. She has a cute quirky style. See more of her work on her website.
- Son of a Sailor. Bold, colorful jewelry. I love their leather bracelets.
02. Give experience gifts. Instead of buying a present, why not do something that can be a shared experience? One of my favorite holidays was spending a weekend in Las Vegas with my dad. No gifts were exchanged, and we all had good memories to take away instead of something that will be shoved in a closet two months later. Some other ideas I’ve had for friends are taking a class together, spending a day as a tourist in your hometown, or doing fun activities together like visiting art galleries, going to a concert or cooking new recipes.
03. Go shopping together. My favorite new tradition is going to the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale with my sister. We spend an afternoon wandering around all of the booths, and then each pick out something that we would like the other to buy for us. Easy! No returns! AND we get to spend an afternoon together and support local artists. Win, win, win.
04. Make something. If you have more time than money, and are crafty, this might be the perfect solution. I made soap as gifts about five years ago. Locally, Sellwood Soap has a couple of soapmaking classes in SE Portland this weekend. I’ve also had fun making paint swirled glass ornaments as gifts. These can look really nice with the right colors.
05. Send a card with something written in it. Though I appreciate receiving any card, the ones that mean the most are the ones that have a personal message inside. If you are taking the time to send cards, why not jot down a few sentences about what you’re up to? Making a family newsletter to include with the card is another fun option.
06. Shop local. Love having a variety of local shops in your hometown? Put your money back into your community to ensure they stay there. Here are some of my favorite Portland shops.
- Appetite. Screen-printed bags, accessories and housewares. I love their stuff. I haven’t been to their store yet, but have bought pillows at the market.
- Canoe. Always something new and interesting. Products for modern home, work, and life.
- The Real Mother Goose. I love the jewelry and ceramics here. Everything is made by American artists. This is a great place to find a unique gift.
- Moonstruck Chocolate Company. They make the most adorable yummy chocolates. This is a perfect gift for someone who is hard to shop for.
- Crafty Wonderland. One of my favorite shops downtown, filled with craft and art from artists in the Portland area. I can always find a very “Portland” gift here. The Super Colossal Holiday Sale is December 8-9 at the Convention Center. I go to this every year.
07. No gifts. Or fewer gifts. I have my gift list for Christmas whittled down to the three people closest to me. If I happen to see something that someone else would like, I might buy it, but I certainly don’t feel obligated to do so. Talk to your friends and family about this. I guarantee that a large percentage of people would be happy to just be off the hook for gift buying!
Share your tips or favorite online shops in the comments!