Monday, November 21, 2016

Anti-Poverty Mom's 2016 Shop Local Gift Picks

It seems my social media streams are full of notices to boycott a whole lot of businesses because of their ties to political figures or climate-harming interests. It's probably reflective of how contentious and negative 2016 has been for our country. Some I agree with, others I think are a stretch. But here's my two cents: No matter how you feel about Ivanka Trump or global warming, you really can't go wrong by buying local for your holiday gift shopping!

Now is exactly the time of year to think about local shopping before you're tempted to go ga-ga over Black Friday or CyberMonday after Thanksgiving. Do NOT forget about Small Business Saturday! Take a moment to think about a few important ways that shopping local is a great idea:
  1. You'll cut down on wasteful shipping materials and fuel used when ordering online
  2. You can support small business owners and get to know them personally
  3. More of your money stays in your community. Significantly more of your money goes to other local businesses, service providers, farms, and charities
  4. You can help create jobs in your own community. If the shop does well, they'll need more employees!
  5. You'll can support local artisans do what they love and help your community be more beautiful and unique
While I can't give everyone a customized list of independent, local merchants, I'll leave a few of mine for inspiration in categories that are great for gift shopping. Maybe you can find some near you that are similar? Even if you decide to order from my local merchants, you'll still likely be steering free of whatever it is folks are saying to boycott and you'll be helping my local St Louis community.

Photo Credit:
Apparel: Bravely
Bravely is a new business in St Louis and I intend to get a few presents from here even though it's not a brick and mortar store yet. "Bravely is an apparel company designed to employ and empower women recovering from sexual exploitation and addiction. Our shirts and accessories send messages of hope, love, and courage. When you wear and use Bravely products, you are sharing those messages with the world and changing lives while you do it."

Bath & Beauty: KIND Soap Company
KIND has a location in Webster Groves, MO that I love to browse. There are a few places you can buy products in other states (IL, TX, CO), but all their products are made here in the St Louis area. You can click on the link to see their philosophy of keeping bad stuff out of our bodies and out of the earth. My personal favorite product is the Shea Luxe Creme bubble bath. Oh...look at that picture...I'm almost out again. Time to go back! I also like their solid perfume. They sell lockets at the store and will fill the locket up with the solid perfume scent of your choice. You can even bring it back for refills!

Photo credit: Ash and Griffin
Artisans: Ash and Griffin Pottery
I've talked about these ladies before for a Mother's Day post, but I'm going to mention them again because they do an annual Winter Studio sale (party?) before the holidays. If your local artists do that, you should definitely go meet the artists, mingle with other people who dig the same stuff you do, buy stuff, and eat snacks! I bought a mug like this last year and I love how it beautifully draws attention away from the fact that I might actually be drinking a can of Coca-Cola for breakfast.

Vintage Antiques: Retro 101/Cherry Bomb
Retro 101 seems to be so retro that they don't have a website! So, I gave you their Facebook page link instead. This vintage store is fun and hip to browse around in. Just about any antique/vintage clothing store is going be a greener choice than buying new and they will have weird, one-of-a-kind gifts at a very reasonable price. Like this retro Japanese robe that became part of my Doc Brown Halloween costume. And yeah, sometimes, I may walk around the house in it drinking Coke for breakfast out of a pottery mug. Maybe.

Our Camp Fire field trip to Open Books
Used Book Stores: Open Books
Ok, this one isn't in St Louis, but it was local to me when I lived in Chicago and feel like giving props to my favorite used book store I've ever come across! This one is 'specially special because Open Books is not only a place to shop, but its also a nonprofit venture that provides literacy experiences for thousands of readers each year. You can bring in all your old books to donate and buy new ones. The proceeds go towards teaching kids and adults in Chicago how to read. Even if your local used book store is not a non-profit, it's still great to shop there because it's a very sustainable choice to use books already in print than create new ones. You might even find rare antique books or author signed ones!

Museums: The Magic House
I consider giving a membership or a gift certificate for admission to a museum to be local shopping, too. I  chose the Magic House to feature because this IS a mom-blog and it is a wonderful place of learning in St Louis. Where else could my daughter learn to install a play muffler on the underside of a car? Lots of museums provide learning programs for under-priveleged kids in addition to being fun for families. Your local art museum is making sure that culture and creativity are alive and well in difficult times when we need inspiration and beauty. Your local science museum is helping kids and adults become educated voters and citizens. A history museum like the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, IL helps us understand the failings of the past and inspires hope for the future. A gift of museum admission is the gift of education...and that is priceless.