Houseplants. Last year one of my best friends in the whole word suffered a terrible carbon monoxide scare at a rental home over Thanksgiving. For Christmas, I sent her a Snake Plant which helps purify the air and also thrives on neglect. I only give houseplants that don't need a lot of care. The two I love and the only two I have in my house are Snake Plants and Zz Plants. If you lived in Greensboro, which most of you don't, I would tell you to get a Snake Plant at The Tiny Greenhouse, which is where I get all my houseplants. However, a good online source of houseplants is The Sill. Another option would be to purchase houseplants from a locally owned nursery in your area. Small businesses could use our support anytime, but especially this year.
Lip gloss. My favorite lip gloss, and one that would make a great gift is Beautycounter's Beyond Gloss. It's moisturizing, not sticky, comes in a lot of flattering colors, does not leak, and has a pleasant vanilla scent. And the color lasts. I can put some on before leading a two hour seminar on Zoom or teaching a yoga class, and it's still looking good hours later. I could write a lot about lip gloss because I wear it all the time and I am super picky about it. Since I have celiac, it absolutely has to be gluten free. Since I teach about health, I only choose clean beauty products that don't have unsafe chemicals, questionable colorants, etc. Honestly, we swallow a lot of lipstick and lip gloss in our lifetime (source) so it's important to make sure our lip products are safe. Beautycounter has a lot of awesome products and today only (11/30/20) they are offering 15% off plus free shipping over $50!
Books. I recently read that our depressed economy has heavily hit independent bookstores, with more than one permanently closing every month since the pandemic started. Amazon does not need more money, but boy, local bookstores sure could use the help. I did a lot of my holiday shopping at Scuppernong here in Greensboro. In Colorado, it was always a special treat growing up to visit The Tattered Cover in Denver (confession: I always wanted to be a gift wrapper there but alas I lacked the skills). On vacation in California's Central Coast, Brian and I would always go to Coalesce Bookstore in Morro Bay, which carries Brian's favorite genre of adventures at sea. Click here to find an independent bookstore in your area. And feel free in the Comments to give a shout out to your favorite independent bookstore. Thanks!
Flowers. I have a confession. I have been buying a $3.99 bouquet of flowers at Trader Joe's every two weeks since we moved to North Carolina. They absolutely brighten my day and my foyer. If you use the plant food provided and trim them after one week, they really do last two weeks. That's cheaper than a cup of Starbucks coffee for two weeks of visual joy! You can find economically priced small vases at Goodwill and Michael's. A great gift for neighbors, especially if you are unsure if they have food allergies, is to pop one of those Trader Joe's bouquets in a vase. This is also good for teachers and such. We've had a lot of people move into our neighborhood in the past year and so I've been welcoming folks with one of these bouquets. Funny enough, one neighbor brought the vase back with new flowers in it and so now we exchange flowers once a month.
Jewelry, Art, Crafts. For this category of gifts, seek out local gift shops that carry the work of local artists. Artists have been especially hard hit this year because all the trade shows and holiday fairs where they sell their products have been cancelled. In Greensboro, I did a lot of holiday shopping at Just Be. Also, on Etsy, you can not only search by the product you want but also by geographic location, which is how my husband found someone who was making face masks locally.
There you have it. Some great gift ideas for the holidays and beyond. I'd love to hear in the Comments your gift ideas and small businesses you recommend.