A Gift Guide For Shopping Small

A Gift Guide For Shopping Small

My favorite Christmas gifts growing up all had one thing in common — they were thoughtful. I remember themed Christmases where my mom would know my favorite Disney character or current interest, and she would purchase gifts in line with her given themes. I felt special and known.

One of my grandmas was always amazing at remembering what I pointed out months and months before Christmas, and each item would be underneath the tree long after I had forgotten I even made the suggestion. And my other grandma always made sure all of us grandchildren received both something we wanted and needed. Also, I could always count on my aunt to show up on Christmas with a homemade, unique gift for me and my siblings. We could never predict what the gift would be but always loved seeing the time and effort she put into its creation. I would often imagine her planning what she would give us and then picking out the fabrics or other supplies with each of our unique interests in mind.

I would sit back at the end of the holiday parties feeling so loved. Not for the number of gifts I received, but for the gifts that reminded me I was known and cared for.

Christmas should be a time when we help those we care about feel special. A time when we buy our gifts out of consideration for what touches the souls of those we love. So instead of filling the shopping cart this year with toys your kids will play with one time, cheap perfume for your grandma or another wallet your husband or dad won’t carry, consider shopping with thoughtful intention this season by following the steps below:

1. Write down the names of the people you plan to give a gift.

2. Write down three descriptive words next to each name. What is this person’s interests? Is he active or does he enjoy introspection? Is she hospitable or the life of the party? What words describe him/her the best?

3. Visit the list below of small shops and find a gift that supports one of these small businesses while also being a good fit for your loved one. Shop with the descriptive words in mind.

We at Downs Ups & Teacups encourage you to shop small. No matter what, you may still choose the wrong gift. But when you shop small, you’ve at least given a gift to the business owner who works extra hard this season. Maybe your budget doesn’t allow you to do this for each and every name on your list, but do the best you can with what you have and know that the owner of the small business will be much more grateful than the big man on top of the corporate chain stores.

For the reader or storyteller: Readerly–prints and shirts that celebrate the impact of words!

For the fashionista: Dear Mushka–jewelry that represents your story and passions.

For the health and wellness guru: Young Living Essential Oils

For the mama needing a pick-me-up: Ezer Mama subscription box--for mamas designed to refocus their minds, refresh their hearts and renew their strength.

For the tea or coffee connoisseur: Downs Ups & Teacups coffee/tea mugs  with coffee from Just Love Coffee Company

For the all-day snacker and foodie: Free Day Popcorn Company–fresh and healthy popcorn!

For the always cold snuggler: Sackcloth & Ashes–outdoor and indoor blankets and for every purchase, the company gives a blanket to your local homeless shelter.

For the dapper man (or the man you wish was dapper *wink*): JORD wooden watches“The value of a watch is not in being able to tell how much time has passed, but in being aware of the need to make that time count. Moments are bigger than minutes and your watch should tell more than time.”

For the hostess or cook: Pampered Chef–everything your kitchen needs to bring loved ones around the table.

For the little writer: Addie & George— story starter journals for kids

For the little adventurer: From Jennifer–wooden toys like a bow and arrow set and slingshot with felt balls.

For the little artist: Our Little Messes–personalized artist cases


Tell us, how will you be more intentional with your Christmas shopping this year?


Amanda is a wife, mother, writer/editor, and certified life coach. Pen and paper make her spirit come alive. She spends her creative time reading, decorating, and handwriting fonts. Her world is better with an assortment of chocolate and a packed bag ready for travel. She works each day to be a creative maker, storyteller, and dream-chaser.

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