We’ve made no secret of our distaste for the annual descent into madness known as Black Friday, and this year it’s even worse, with many of the big box retailers starting the money-grubbing on Thanksgiving morning. Now, we could write a long and cranky screed about how many kinds of wrong this is, but instead, we’re going to be positive here.
We suggest that you ignore Black Friday and Bleak Thursday and the corporate-driven quest for profits that drives them, and instead do the following:
1. Shop at local independent stores where your money will stay in your community.
3. Spend your holiday at home with your family instead of in the Cage of Death grudge-match at the mall (which should be spelled maul).
To help you with the first two, here are links to some small businesses operated by our friends and family (or their friends and family, or just places we like).
The Tinker’s Cart
Whether you’re of Irish descent or you’re shopping for something for your Irish-American friend (we all have one), the Tinker’s Cart is the place to find every Irish thing you could hope for, from t-shirts to music. The shop was started by my uncle Johnny, who is now letting my cousin Cheryl, a very talented artist, run the place. You can pop into the shop in Clinton, Massachusetts or order from the online catalog. Either way, tell her we sent you.
An Etsy shop presided over by Frederique, one of our fellow archers at the PRA, Flower Faeries has interesting hand-crafted jewelry, scarves and other nice things.
Of course you have a geeky friend who loves chocolate. Of course you want them to have delectable goodies in a Doctor Who or Star Wars theme; who wouldn’t want a white chocolate Dalek or Han Solo frozen in a block of chocolate truffle carbonite? Friend-of-a-friend Nikki wants to indulge your sweet tooth while luring you to the Dork Side. Embrace it. You know you want to.
Parachute Cord Supply
If you’re a Maker (you know, somebody who makes stuff), Parachute Cord Supply might be the kind of place you want to know about. They stock a wide variety of supplies for various crafts and hobbies. Check them out, they may have just the thing you need for your home-made Christmahannakwaanza gifts.
Kay’s Crochet Patterns
Certainly you need a gift for your friend who crochets or knits. Maybe you want to curry favor with a friend or relative so they will make you that cunning Jayne hat you really want (there’s a pattern for this type of hat here, too, though it’s shown in different colors). Or maybe you’re a crocheter/knitter and planning to make a cunning Jayne hat for your favorite brother-in-law; you can find everything you need right here at Kay’s Crochet Patterns.
Handworks from the Blue
Wow, look at all the nifty hand-sewn stuff Terri’s friend Meg makes! And if you don’t see what you want, she does custom work too!
Zzyzx and Sue
Sue has been a friend since high school (back before the earth’s crust had cooled) but even if she weren’t, I’d still point you toward her, because she makes cool stuff. One of the most creative people I know, and now you know where to find her.
Located in Southern California, and founded by the creative and hard-working Emily, Concrete Minerals produces gorgeous mineral eyeshadows, pro matte eyeshadows and lip tints that are healthy and free of parabens and fragrances. Emily’s parents have been our friends since high school. You will love the beautiful make-up and find it hard to resist collections like Zombie Girl.
Fictional Ephemera and Designing Springfield
These two Printfection shops actually belong to me; I made all of the designs being peddled here. Fictional Ephemera (“Ordinary things from extraordinary places”) features items referencing places found in fiction and film; some are recreations of signs and logos found in the originals, others are my own versions of things from those worlds. Designing Springfield is a collection of logos and graphics based on places and products in the world of the Simpsons; I created them as a way of keeping myself busy while unemployed a few years ago. All of the proceeds from these two sites goes directly to me, and I promise to spend it frivolously.
We’ll continue to add new posts over the next few weeks to help you find great gifts that don’t involve sleeping on the sidewalk or wrestling in the aisles.