When it comes to the holiday season, I typically go all out. Not just with decor and holiday spirit, but especially when it comes to gift giving. My closest friends and family would say “all out” doesn’t even fully express the level of Christmasness that occurs in my household. With that being said, this year I’ve really tried to be intentional about dialing it back. If we have learned anything from 2020, health, family, resources, and our support systems are most important this holiday season. So, I have decided to try my best to forego my usual, “oh I forgot I need this! Amazon will have it here in twelve minutes!!”, mindset and focus my efforts and gift giving energy into small businesses who need and deserve the support most. Not only will it keep resources out of the pockets of big business, but the items from these small businesses I have chosen to include in my 2020 Small Business Gift Guide will undeniably make an impact when gift giving this season. Many, if not all, of the following small businesses and vendors hand-make the items they sell or source from local artisans and makers, making their items all the more special!
Here is my 2020 Guide to Shopping Small Business for the Holidays:
1. Myrth Ceramics - Somerville, MA
I am trying my very best not to play favorites when it comes to making this list, but it’s hard to contain my love for the Myrth brand and the husband/wife duo behind it. Abby and Eric hand make each vessel they sell in their Union Square Studio. Abby is the brains behind designing/dreaming up new creations and Eric works as her co-designer and Myrth’s engineer/chemist. The brand was founded in 2015 in the effort to, “Elevate the Everyday”, which is exactly what their products have done in my home. From hand thrown vases, to slip cast drinkware, and jigger mold dinnerware, all finished off with their scratch-made glazes, each piece tells a story in both a set or standing alone. Myrth is always working to cook up something new to add to their permanent collection and I am so excited for new glaze releases and forms coming during this holiday season! Be sure to check them out. If you are buying gifts to give, make sure you wrap one up for yourself as well. It’ll be worth it!
Favorite Product: Swig cups! I have built a collection of 8 in both the Mesa and Dune glazes. We use them for everything from nightly glasses of wine to espresso based coffee drinks or simply a glass of water. These glasses make a statement and truly “Elevate” our everyday.
2. Tebi Earrings - Brooklyn, MA
(Picture Credit: tebiclay.com)
I found Ann’s work through a friend on Instagram and gave her an instant follow. Her brand Tebi (meaning tea leaves in Taiwanese) is all about creating beautiful and lightweight one of a kind pieces. Each set of earrings is handcrafted by Ann herself. She draws inspiration from all of the places she has traveled and lived. The reason I love her brand is because she not only creates pieces that are unique, but they are wearable for everyday or can be elevated for a more upscale look. She also includes seasonal studs that get me every time. Adorable ghosts for Halloween and tasty little gingerbread dangles for Christmas. Ann’s work is so stunning, that securing a piece is a rush for sure. Tebi posts launches throughout the year and the earrings basically fly off of the website. I was able to secure a few sets of earrings to gift this upcoming holiday season and they are gorgeous and super affordable for the quality and style. I’m excited to share her next restock will be December 4th at 7pm EST. If you’re interested in her work, set an alarm, you’ll need it!
Favorite Product: “Gingerbreads Hanging on for Dear Life” they are the cutest little gingerbreads I have ever seen. If you’re looking for a fun festive earring that is also stylish, look no further. I have also purchased Chamomile Dangles and a few others to gift and each is stunning.
3. Scents of Adventure Company - Boston, MA
(Photo credit: scentsofadventurecompany.com)
This husband duo, Chris and Adam, are hand making their own signature scents out of their Southie apartment. Each candle is created around an “adventure” the couple has shared together and scents reminiscent of their memories. I am a huge fan of candles, and this is one of two brands I will be including in this list. What sets Scents of Adventure apart from the rest is the story behind each scent. When you buy a Scents of Adventure candle, you will immediately be transported to the adventure you chose. Not only do these candles smell incredible, but they also burn clean and are 100% natural soy wax. The scent profiles for each candle are hand mixed by the couple for a unique, one of a kind, scent experience.
Favorite Product: “Deck the Halls” With notes of cedar, clove, and fir, this candle is the perfect launch into your holiday candle collection. Best used when putting up your tree and trimming the home with holiday spirit. This candle will make the holiday memories last all season long. If you are a fan or first time buyer of Scents of Adventure, I will be sharing a very exciting project with you soon where you can purchase a candle perfect for “burrowing” in this holiday season. Right now, Scents of Adventure is offering free shipping when purchasing three or more candles!
4. Lou’s Libations - Downers Grove, IL
(Photo Credit: louslibations.com)
Lou’s Libations is a new brand by the couple Steve and Dana Mitchell. They developed their concept out of a love for the series Mad Men (if there is a show that makes you want to drink all the time, it’s this one) and the quarantine days of Covid. Their concept is simple: purchase a jar with high quality cocktail ingredients from California, and just add booze! It’s that simple! With classic flavors like Lou’s Lemonade to interesting blends like Cancun Kick, simply gift with the spirit to mix and you’re done! Each jar takes about 12oz of liquor and will infuse in the refrigerator for 72 hours. After that the infusion will last up to a year and makes approximately 8-10 cocktails (depending on how much fun you’re looking to have!)
Favorite Product: Ginger’s Juice - Limes, Cherries, Orange, Mint, Crystallized Ginger, Lime Infused Sugar, I mean, what’s not to love?! My liquor of choice with this infusion is vodka, although Lou’s suggests gin as well!
5. Hamel Family Wines - Sonoma, CA
(Photo Credit: hamelfamilywines.com)
If you are looking to give the gift of wine this holiday season, or are looking to purchase wine to serve at your holiday meal, look no further. The beautiful grounds and vineyards of Hamel Family Wines are next to none. I have had the pleasure of visiting for a tasting back in February and have been drinking their wines ever since. The Hamel Family prides itself on its organic and biodynamic practices. They produce their wines in small batches from their Sonoma Valley and Moon Mountain District estate vineyards. What I love about Hamel Family Wines is right in its name, it is family owned and run. While we visited for our tasting, the family was staying and living on the grounds. The entire family has a hand in the operations which is so fun and exciting! Their logo, the badger, hails from the Hamel’s having three generations of alum from the University of Wisconsin. Giving a bottle, a virtual tasting, or the gift of a wine club membership would be a special experience for anyone to receive.
Favorite Product: 2016 Isthmus - “Dark ruby in hue, this wine's complex nose of fresh black cherry is accompanied by a background bouquet of mint, forest floor, spice and cedar. A soft, inviting entry displays fresh red and black fruits on the midpalate that carries through to a long finish. While soft and round on the edges, the core of the wine remains persistent and complex. This contrast yields a wine that will provide pleasure and accessibility in the near term, as well as the potential to gain complexity and depth with cellaring over the next ten years” (hamelfamilywines.com). This wine is complex yet extremely palatable. It will make a statement with your Christmas dinner, or be the perfect gift for the wine lover in your life to add to their collection. I was given two bottles by Hamel Family Wines, one that I will serve to family and friends, the other I will add to my personal collection.
6. Follain - Boston, MA
(Photo Credit: follain.com)
An item always on my Christmas list is any form of skin care. I have been on a personal journey this year to cut the junk and additives out of my life in a variety of forms. Follain helps me do just that. They have brick and mortar shops with locations in MA, NY, MD, and WA. They also have their own e-commerce site and are offered in a variety of retailers. While Follian started as a small business, they have definitely grown and expanded over the years. What I love about this brand is that everything they sell and procure is effective and considered “clean” beauty. In addition to offering many clean beauty and skincare brands, Follain has a skincare line completely their own. If you’re looking to please the skin obsessed, look no further!
Favorite Product: Follain’s “Everything Soap” is a must. I know, soap as a gift sounds kind of lame, but trust me it is anything but. Their soap is refillable for those near brick and mortar locations, or they offer large refill bottles online. The soap comes in two signature scents, lavender and lemongrass, and seasonal scents are available as well. This soap does it all. Hand soap, use to clean your dishes, even wash your pets with it! It smells wonderful, cleans thoroughly, and saves the environment, what’s not to love?
7. Aster Candles - Rhode Island
(Photo Credit: astercandles.com)
Run and handcrafted by Catherine, Aster Candles makes this list for a few different reasons. For one, the scents are captivating. Made from 100% soy wax from American Grown soybeans, Aster Candles gathers inspiration from the night sky, nostalgia, kicking your shoes off, espresso martinis, and treating yourself. What’s not to love? With collections like “All Day Aster” including scents for morning, noon, and night, to their holiday scent “Snow Capped” there is not a candle you could give that someone wouldn’t love.
Favorite Product: What excited me about Aster Candles is their Candle Club Subscription. The membership is prepaid and can be given in a three, six, or twelve month package. The best thing about this candle club is that each month the candle is a surprise! You or your gift recipient will receive the joy of opening a freshly poured 4oz mini candle with scents that fit the month and season. Each candle comes alongside an exclusive matchbox and a gold foiled postcard. It really is the gift that keeps on giving!
8. @VillageVintageHomeGoods - Augusta, GA / North Augusta, SC
(Photo Credit: @villagecvintagehomegoods)
Okay, if you’re not too familiar with Instagram, this concept may be new to you. If you are obsessed with Instagram, this concept may also be new to you. Let me open your mind to the world of vintage shopping online. Village Vintage is a vintage and thrifted Instagram account run by a young woman named Jordan. She posts weekly item drops sharing vintage and thrifted goodies for sale. Colored glassware, brass candlesticks, baskets, lamps, knick knacks, seasonal goodies, you name it, she’s selling it! If you love vintage goods, but don’t love the process of hunting for the perfect find, the world of Instagram vintage goodies is for you. I have shopped with Jordan a few times now and everything is shipped and handled with care and have been wonderful additions to my personal collection. There are many similar accounts, but Jordan’s drops always include something I love.
Favorite Product: Vintage glassware!! I can’t get enough! I have purchased three different sets of glassware. This trend won’t come to an end. Start building your own collection or gift to that vintage lover on your list!
9. Bri Larson Art - Providence, RI
(Photo Credit: brilarson.com)
Bri Larson is a ceramicist out of Providence, RI. She creates handmade and functional pieces out of clay using repeated monochromatic patterns and geometric shapes to adorn her works. Using a variety of methods such as hand-building and wheel throwing, Bri creates pieces that are food safe and intended for use in a variety of settings. Plates, cups, jugs, jewelry, teapots, you name it, Bri makes it! While there are items currently available on her site, she will also be restocking on December 4th at 12pm EST!
Favorite Product: Mugs - Bri’s mug style is so unique and exciting. My partner and I were gifted two mugs as a house warming present by a friend and they are our go-tos. The mugs hold the perfect amount of coffee and tea, are a nice weight and fee in the hand, and make such a fun addition to your morning coffee routine. I love her simplistic patterns such as herringbone, line, and x’s but she has mugs for all styles And tastes. Even toilet paper themed mugs for the fun/quirky person on your gifting list!
10. Tyler Sorgman Art - Watertown, MA
(Photo Credit: tylersorgmanart.com)
While this addition is definitely showing bias, my partner’s art expressing abstract landscapes and repeated pattern work is definitely notable. While commissioned pieces are available, Tyler’s printed work will be available online coming soon just in time for the holidays! The gift of art is always a gift well received. Tyler’s medium is typically acrylic on canvas, while his drawings range from charcoal, marker, and colored pencil on paper. His art makes a statement in any space and his commissioned works stand alone.
Favorite Piece: Smoke Signals 2020. This work hangs in our guest room and I always catch myself staring at it. While this piece is 3ftx3ft, prints sold of this work will be offered in frame friendly sizes. Check @tylersorgmanart on Instagram for more details, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details on commissions or purchasing work listed on his site.
While I could go on for hours, I wanted to include a quick click guide of more artisans and shops I have experienced and enjoyed for you to explore at your leisure! Each of these additions would make not only great gifts for the ones you love, but yourself as well! Enjoy!
More Shops to Explore:
Mys.Lagom Artisan soaps, candles, and scrubs made by my gal pal Bar out of London, UK. Her holiday collection is so festive and fun and her bundled gift boxes will please anyone on your list!
Invisible Twin Studio Ceramics that are colorful and fun. I love the glazing style and character of each piece! Her shop is sold out, but gift cards for the next drop would give your recipient the option to choose their favorite piece!
Olives and Grace Voted “Best Gift Shop” in Boston Olives and Grace features local makers and wonderful gift sets.
Batch Apothecary Small batch CBD body care products that are bound to relax and soothe you this holiday season.
Amanda Sem Society6 Shop The incredible Graphic Artist behind Ash & Burrow’s logo uses her Society6 shop profits to reinvest in the local artist community.
Tandem Coffee Roasters Based out of Portland, ME, Tandem is one of my favorite coffee roasters. Offering coffee, subscriptions, and products for the coffee enthusiast in your life.
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