Each holiday, nearly every blogger and business crafts a curated guide of their top gifts for the season. In the past, I too have composed my fair share of gift guides. I’ve even written a post addressing whether these lists, infographics, and collages are actually helpful or hindering. Last year, I felt truly passionate about my shop small gift guide, which focused on supporting local businesses during the season of giving, but this year, I couldn’t bring myself to create another. Yes, most of us have to give a gift or two (or three or a dozen) during the holidays, but I think we could all use a reminder that the most valuable gift we can give is our time.
I’m sure your grandparents will make good use of the newfangled Keurig coffee maker you got them, but wouldn’t they love if you sat with them for an hour and worked on a puzzle? Every mom adores a new piece of jewelry for the holidays, but wouldn’t she love for you to join her in the kitchen and bake a batch of cookies from scratch? Your brother may desperately need a new wallet after he accidently washed his in the laundry, but wouldn’t he love to go out back and build a snowman like you used to as kids?
So, this holiday season, I don’t have another gift guide filled with fabulous suggestions for all the friends and family on your list. This year, I’m challenging you to think about how you can give your time to the ones you love. Take a post-Christmas dinner walk with your boyfriend, gather your cousins for a card game, or get together with your girlfriends and have a gift wrapping party. This holiday season, make a memory that will live on for holiday seasons to come.
One of my best friends from college came to visit me in NYC for my birthday last month, and while out for a little retail therapy, we stumbled upon a NYC tradition: the Union Square Holiday Market. It was one of the days where you let the city guide you, so we instantly found ourselves wandering through the market and winding in and out of the countless booths. In honor of my new home, today’s post is exclusively for my fellow New Yorkers: I’m sharing the best of the Union Square Holiday Market.
A C C E S S O R I E S :
Charm NYC was one of my top discoveries of the Union Square Holiday Market. These hats are impeccably made with high quality fabrics and superb craftsmanship. With styles for women (left and center), men (right), and kids (not pictured) there’s truly something for everyone at Charm NYC.
A L L A G E S :
Working a puzzle on Christmas day is a holiday tradition in my family. It’s the perfect way to bring everyone together, young and old. A great jigsaw is an amazing gift for anyone and everyone, even those people on your Christmas list who are most difficult to shop for.
B E A U T Y :
Don’t be deterred by Lotus Skin Care’s hands-on (pun intended) approach to beauty. There’s a reason they set up water basins at their booth to demo their products: because they want to show you how they work and how amazing they are. Our skin truly takes a beating in the winter season. I approached the Lotus Skin Care booth complaining of my incredibly dry hands, so they gave me the demo. I walked away without purchasing, and as I enjoyed the rest of the market, I noticed how hydrated my hands felt. It goes without saying I made my way back to purchase some products for myself and for gifts!
D E C O R :
When I first moved in with my man, I declared posters were the first thing that had to go. Then I discovered Pop Chart Lab, a company that makes posters for adults. My personal favorite are the alcohol-themed posters that are perfect to hang above the bar cart. These make a great gift for the men on your Christmas list!
E D I B L E S :
A gift box from Spices and Tease is another awesome gift idea for those people on your Christmas list who have everything. They have a number of gift box options to fit your budget, and each and every one is customizable for any palate with a combination of dried spices and loose teas.
H O M E :
No, this is not just another candle. As you may have guessed by its name, Dr. Softskin incorporates skincare into all its products, even this candle. Instead of being made of wax, their candles are made of oil, and once you light and start burning, you can dip a finger right in and moisturize your hands, elbows, or other dry areas with the hydrating oil. A unique gift option for a hostess gift or stocking stuffer!
J E W E L R Y :
There are so many amazing NYC-based jewelry brands, it was hard to chose just one to showcase, but I had to highlight We See Stars for their combination of beautiful quality and affordable prices. If you’re stumped for a full-proof gift for the ladies on your Christmas list, you can never go wrong with jewelry.
K I T C H E N :
NY Cruets are the ideal gift for the cooks on your Christmas list. These stunning hand-blown oil and vinegar dispensers are decorative and functional. If you need a gift for your mom, dad, or in-laws, look no further than NY Cruets.
S E A S O N A L :
Everyone loves hot chocolate during the winter months, particularly the holidays. No Chewing Allowed doesn’t just make delectable chocolates that literally melt in your mouth, they make a pretty kick ass hot chocolate, which is an awesome option for a gift swap or stocking stuffer.
T E C H :
Last but not least, Remodo! Remodo is known for is amazing boxed rooms, which are perfect for college students, young adults, new homeowners, kids, vacation homes, and more. BUT if you’re looking for a smaller gift from Remodo, this portable phone charger is sure to please! These battery packs hold a full charge and are compatible with any phone that uses a USB. Simply plug in your phone cord and get charging. And, of course, they’re decorated with classic and cute Remodo designs. This is the perfect gift for those who travel frequently for work or play!
So far in my 2014 Holiday Gift Guide advocating shopping small, I’ve showcased three amazing small businesses from around the country:
1. Native Bear in Atlanta, GA
2. Woodbury Lane in Milwaukee, WI
3. Must Love Sparkle in Chicago, IL
4. Jordan Grace Owens in Durham, North Carolina
I discovered Jordan Grace Owens back in college at an artist market in Athens, GA and instantly fell in love with her designs. Jordan Grace has the ability to capture the unique personality and essence of a person while keeping her signature illustration style. She has a number of items that are ready-to-buy in her Etsy shop, but she is most well known for her custom work, specifically her personalized paper dolls. Yes, I said paper dolls, but before you shrug off the possibility of purchasing something that sounds old-fashioned, take a look at Jordan Grace Owens’ designs and think again. Jordan Grace started making her illustrations into paper dolls in “an effort to make art that people would want to touch and interact with,” then they took off (Need Supply Co interview)! If you’re looking for a unique way to capture your family or friends, send Jordan Grace your photos and she’ll draw and assemble their likeness for a one-of-a-kind portrait.
J O R D A N G R A C E O W E N S
A girl can never have too many totes. This hand-screenprinted Leggy Canvas Tote is ultra feminine, fun, and functional. It’s sizable (15″ x 10.5″) enough to serve as a pseudo-purse, grocery sack, in-flight carry on, gym satchel, weekender bag – the applications are endless!
Out with the old-school concert tees and in with the cute graphic tees. This super-soft fitted tee has a lovely sentiment and sweet illustration. It’s perfect for any lady on your Christmas list, young or old!
Partners, pets, parents… spouses, siblings, even friends… the possibilities are endless when it comes to Jordan Grace Owens’ custom-made, personalized paper dolls. Unfortunately, JGO’s paper dolls are so popular there is a 3-4 month wait list. So, the best course of action for the holidays is to purchase a gift certificate.
About the Business:
Jordan Grace Owens is an artist, illustrator, and maker based in Durham, North Carolina. Her intimate and stylized designs have caught the attention of numerous publications such as Design Sponge, Need Supply Co., and Real Simple magazine. Jordan Grace’s work is also featured in the book 1000 Portrait Illustration: Contemporary Illustration from Pencil to Digital. With a fine arts background, two years working in graphic design, and plenty of artistic encouragement growing up, Jordan Grace has built a flourishing business on Etsy and made a career making drawings.
Just because Small Business Saturday is behind us doesn’t mean you have to stop shopping small this holiday season. No matter what day of the year, it’s always important to support small businesses!
In Part I and Part II of my 2014 Holiday Gift Guide advocating shopping small, I shared two of my favorite small businesses: Native Bear (based in my hometown, Atlanta, GA) and Woodbury Lane (founded by fellow blogger Katelyn Kosinski of Katelyn Now, located in Milwaukee, WI). Today, I’m showcasing gifts from another small business that is near and dear to my heart: the Chicago-based brand Must Love Sparkle.
You may have seen some beautiful jewelry from Must Love Sparkle in previous posts on ARTicles of Clothing blog. Specifically, I used MLS jewels to style singer/songwriter Erica Bryan for one of her shows last summer.
If you’re hoping to give the gift of jewelry this holiday season, look no further than Must Love Sparkle! For a limited time, use the code shopsmall50 for 50% off all orders or subscribe to the MLS mailing list for 10% off your first order.
M U S T L O V E S P A R K L E
I must admit I was skeptical of the two-finger ring until I tried this poetic and adorable tortoise and the hare ring from MLS. It’s surprisingly comfortable and incredibly unique and fun. Great for a gift or stocking stuffer.
The palace cuff is the ultimate lightweight statement bracelet. It’s cute, comfortable, and instantly completes any girl’s outfit. I used this cuff while styling singer/songwriter Erica Bryan, so it’s performance approved! Whether you’re looking for something stage-worthy or just a great gift for everyday, the palace bracelet is perfect!
These are two of my favorite pieces from MLS. This necklace and bracelet are part of the Jocelyn Negron Collection, a group of pieces fashioned by Jocelyn Negron, jewelry designer and founder of Must Love Sparkle. This collection has a stunning design and exceptional quality. A truly beautiful holiday gift for any special woman in your life.
About the Business:
Must Love Sparkle is a Chicago-based a jewelry destination characterized by a unique aesthetic, exceptional quality, and attainable prices. Jewelry designer and founder Jocelyn Negron has a keen eye for buying and designing, which has allowed her to curate a diverse collection of her own jewelry designs as well as that of other designers. The MLS girl likes to mix it up by wearing hoodies with high heels or Nikes with fur. However, at the end of the day, MLS is for anyone who wants to shine, no matter your style.
Last week I kicked off my 2014 Holiday Gift Guide with a new approach, one that focuses on something I’m passionate about: shopping small. This holiday season, I encourage you to use your hard-earned money to support small businesses.
You may think it takes a lot more time, effort, and money to shop small. I understand your concerns! I’m an avid online shopper and committed to price comparing to find the best deal on almost everything I buy. Shopping small doesn’t mean changing all of your shopping habits. My 2014 Holiday Gift Guide will show you that you can still conveniently peruse online and purchase items at affordable prices all while shopping small.
In Part I, I showcased one of my favorite small businesses based in my hometown, Atlanta, GA: Native Bear. Today, I’m excited to share gift options from Woodury Lane, the latest business endeavor of fellow blogger Katelyn Kosinski of Katelyn Now. Just last week Woodbury Lane launched their exclusive holiday Gift Boutique, open to VIP members only. It’s easy (and completely free) to sign up with your email for VIP membership and access to the Gift Boutique, and, believe me, it’s well worth your while. All gifts are under $50. However, if you buy more than one, all orders over $50 get free shipping with the code MyGift at checkout.
W O O D B U R Y L A N E
This handmade vegan leather clutch is available in two hues, this rich cognac and a lighter tan. The metallic stripe detail gives this clutch the perfect touch of sparkle for the holiday season.
If you’re looking for a versatile gift for anyone on your wishlist look no further. This luxury bar soap would be a great stocking-stuffer, the perfect accent to tie atop a package, or it’s a lovely gift on its own. The soaps are available in three luscious scents, but I’m particularly fond of the tea tree + eucalyptus. Tea tree oil is one of my favorite essential oils. It’s effective on blemishes, shaving rash, or just as a beautifully scented cleanser.
Scarves are one of the most essential fall/winter weather accessories. This blush colored infinity scarf is perfect for all the cold days to come. However, it’s lightweight enough to accessorize your ensembles all the way through next spring.
About the Business:
Woodbury Lane is a Milwaukee-based clothing boutique providing women with effortless styles and unique home good finds. Blogger and now entrepreneur Katelyn Kosinski founded Woodbury Lane earlier in 2014 as a result of her thirst for innovation and creativity. The boutique is currently open online 24-7. Its official launch is set for 2015.