It's that time of year again when what to get people and late night shopping are upon us! With this current economic crisis, occupy wall Street and the 99%, small shops closing, and with retail giants and energy suppliers getting fatter pockets, we have to start shopping differently to save our local businesses.
Little changes are great, for all those people you normally get 'smellys' (that's pamper bath sets to you and me) think of buying a small bottle of handmade amazing quality hand lotion or bath oil. We have got to learn that, yes, we can get a set of bath stuff for £4 containing 5 bottles of foamy stuff but it's made of shit, and for that £4 we can buy one bottle of great stuff, quality over quantity! We don't that love that person any less because we haven't bought them a lot of stuff; we love them more because we want them to have the best with great ingredients that won't give them a rash or even cancer! We should apply this principle to all presents. Or give our time. Make cakes! Are you great at jam making - give a jar! Good at knitting - make a scarf or jumper! Every year I make cakes or handmade items for my family, I then buy them something small that I think they will like from a local shop or I give vouchers like '' This entitles you to a half hour foot rub''!
So here are my picks of great local shops and gifts to help our local economy. Remember £1 spent in a local shop will stay in the local economy for another 7 transactions!
http://www.etsy.com/ etsy is a great place to find everything vintage handmade and are all from small shops. Take a look and I doubt you won't find something for the most awkward people to buy for!
For children take a look at these amazing wooden toys, made by an amazing woman who is trying to bring up her son while doing wood work at night while he sleeps. Her blog is amazing and she is such an inspiring person. There is also a link to her etsy page on the blog http://abarefootlife.blogspot.com/
Why not have some amazing art work made by the lovely Sarah Hoyle who did me a lovely design for my bad day Cookie jar. Maybe have a beautiful bespoke design for your wall, tshirt, Christmas cards? Speak to her and she will make you dreams come true http://sarahhoyle.co.uk/
Why not have your hair cut and styled by the amazing Flamingo Amy? She is a hair artist and is in high demand for retro hair styles. You could book a session with her for your loved one for a special occasion in the coming year or just as an amazing pampering experience, who doesn't want to look like a movie star? http://flamingoamy.co.uk/
Look for second hand books at http://www.greenmetropolis.com/ and save the planet as they donate 50p from every sale to The Woodland Trust.
Mamphii Button makes amazing jewellery from vintage buttons and are beautiful and pocket friendly! http://www.folksy.com/shops/mamphii
Alot of my friends are musicians and one great friend of mine Major Matt runs Olive Juice Music, which is a distro for amazing American antifolk music. The artists get a fair deal for there CD's and the service is amazing! Check it out! http://www.olivejuicemusic.com/
Also my friend Tammy runs Mole in the Ground Records and supports great artists from all over the world. http://www.moleintheground.co.uk/records.html
The Amazing Antidote vintage sells amazing vintage clothes and has a shop on Upper St Giles. It has stock from 20's, 30's 40's 50's and beautiful jewellery and handbags http://antidotevintagefashion.bigcartel.com/
My friend Laura Manfre makes amazing retro storybook art prints! She is so talented! Here is her blog, so check out here great work! http://chewychewychewybubblegum.blogspot.com/
Also if you live in the USA please check out this amazing chocolatier Lagusta's Lushious! She is an amazing vegan chocolate maker and is just a totally amazing woman! I hope I grow up to be half as great as her! http://www.lagustasluscious.com/shop/
Essential Care are an award winning skin care line that are made in Suffolk. They are are real success story as a few years back when I used to manage a organic shop and used to order their products in, they were a mother and daughter team, making it by hand in a garage! http://www.essential-care.co.uk/
These are just a few of the amazing businesses that are in Norwich and abroad and we all need to do our bit. It's easy to get bogged down and to feel it's only the big guys who can change stuff. Stop supporting them and lining their pockets, support people who can then support their families directly!
Here's some ideas of things I have made in the past if you you want to have a handmade Christmas!