I started putting together a shop small gift guide last year and it is one of my favorite gift guides overall. There are so many small businesses to include that have beautiful, amazing, and innovative products that there is no way to fit all of them into one small guide. My hope is that even if nothing on this gift guide fulfills a gift on your list, it will inspire you to look around at your local shops and businesses, or to small businesses around the country that don’t have the operations or the marketing budget to compete with big box stores. I am also posting this gift guide early since many small businesses need more lead time to fulfill and ship orders than the Amazons of the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love Amazon and J. Crew as much as the next person, and other gift guides will be filled with easy-to-find items from larger stores, but I also love supporting the local bookstores, the local artists, the local ice cream shops, and more, and allowing other hard-working people achieve success. So, without further ado, let’s shop small!
Wildsam Guides – A former coworker gave me a Wildsam Field Guide to Nashville right before we moved and it was such a unique special gift that I have tried to look for guides for other cities to gift them since then too. I have since learned that the Nashville guide was the first one published. They don’t have a guide to every city yet, but the ones they do have are amazing and original. The creators interview local people to create a really custom, localized guide to the area with interesting tidbits, facts, stories, and hand drawn maps.
Dixie Designs Gift Tags and Cards – Dixie Designs is a stationary and card company that curates artists to design and paint card designs to give a beautiful, custom look without the high prices or lead time you would otherwise need for custom designed artist cards. They have gorgeous holiday card options, but also every paper item you could need for holiday hosting from wrapping paper, to gift tags, holiday party invitations, to menus and place cards.
Earrings from ABLE – ABLE is an ethical fashion brand that employs and empowers women as a solution to end poverty and provide an ethical fashion option. My mom gave me a small ABLE purse for Christmas last year from a small shop in Raleigh. After moving I realized they are based here in Nashville and was able to visit their local storefront recently! The mission of the company is incredible and something I’m excited to support. While I first knew them for their leather bags, they also sell apparel, beautiful shoes (I’m obsessed with these snakeskin and cheetah dot boots, these bright heels, and these cute flats), jewelry, and a few home items (aren’t these serving spoons wonderful?).
Artifact Uprising Photo Book – I haven’t ordered an Artifact Uprising book, but have heard great things about the quality and design of them. There are options for different price points, and I love the linen covers on them. These would make a special gift if you have family photos or photos from a trip on your camera and phone that you want in print.
Lake Pajamas (coordinating for the family!) – Lake pajamas have been on my list for a few years now. My siblings and I got my mom a set for one Mother’s Day and they are so soft. I love that they come in such cute patterns and colors and they continue to add new styles. Their holiday collection is amazing, with cute options for everyone in the family that coordinate well without being too matchy-matchy.
Rebecca Atwood Zipper Pouch – Rebecca Atwood is a wonderful designer and artist based in Brooklyn. She designs patterns for fabric and wallpaper often based on inspiration from nature or her upbringing near the ocean in Cape Cod. She just released her second book, Living with Color, and that and/or her first book, Living with Pattern, would also be great gifts for the interior design lover in your life. You can order signed copies from her website!
Apotheke Candle – I mentioned in the gift guide for the hostess that the Thymes Frasier Fir candle is my all-time favorite seasonal candle this time of year, but my favorite candle during other times of the year is this rose candle from Apotheke, a Brooklyn candle company. I picked one up when I was in NYC at Christmas time last year and was so sad when it burned out.
Art by Kayce Hughes, Anna Vaughn – Kayce Hughes is a Nashville artist who has been featured all over recently. I love all of the greens, blues, and brown paper and am determined to get one of her pieces while we are here. She also has an art instagram account where she posts near daily offerings that are smaller and less expensive than the art in her website shop. Anna Vaughn is an Raleigh, NC-based artist (I went to middle school and college with her cousin!). She recently had her first child, a baby girl, and painted a series of beautiful nude ladies to celebrate the birth of her daughter. I think they are beautiful and would make a special gift for another strong woman in your life. There are so many artists I love and want to support but couldn’t fit in this image. Other favorite artists not pictured include Brenna Therese Art (My sister introduced me to this Nashville artist and I love her work! You can message her on Instagram to buy; also being sold here for holiday 2019), Meredith Mejerle Art, Laurie Anne Art, Britt Bass, Melody Joy (we have one of her pieces and it is so calming)
The Dutch House, or any book from your local bookstore – One of my favorite things we did around the holidays was go to our local bookstore and buy a book or a set of books for children who didn’t have the access or the resources to buy their own. At our bookstore it was called the “angel tree.” The Harry Potter books were our favorite for a long time so we often gifted the series to another child in hopes that they would love them just as much. Even if your bookstore doesn’t have a program like that, books are a great gift for anyone on your list. I list The Dutch House here because it is a recent release from Ann Patchett, a well-known author from Nashville and has received great reviews. We love the local bookstores in each place we have lived (Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, and Parnassus Books in Nashville) and want to support them so they can continue to provide a wonderfully cultivated selection and great community activities.
Simple Bracelet from Nisolo – Like ABLE, Nisolo is another ethically made fashion company based in Nashville. They offer beautiful leather shoes, bags, jewelry, and accessories, and during the holidays have an Ethical Marketplace shop on their site promoting sustainable products from other like-minded makers.
Rothy’s – After my boss and a few other people explained how comfortable their colorful Rothy’s are, I got my first pair this year (the olive camo loafer) and absolutely love them! They are definitely one of my favorite purchases of the year and now I want another pair in the pointed toe style. They are so comfortable that it feels like wearing slippers outside of the house. I also love that they are washable and made from recycled water bottles.
Ice Cream or Gift Card for Ice Cream (Jeni’s or local) – We visited Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream for the first time last summer while visiting Will’s sister in Chicago and immediately understood all of the hype. Since moving to Nashville where there are four (yes, FOUR) locations we have fallen even more in love. You seriously can’t go wrong with a gift card for ice cream, whether for Jeni’s if they have one nearby, or your local ice cream store (our favorite in Raleigh is Two Roosters!). Jeni’s also has a fun ice cream delivery gift option and how exciting would it be to have ice cream show up on your front porch?! Fun fact: I listen to podcasts while I run and listened to the How I Built This episode with Jeni Britton Bauer from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams on mile 22 of my DC marathon. :)
Craft Cocktail Mixers, Syrups, Shrubs, or Bitters – The cocktail mixer pictured is from WithCo, a company based in Nashville, but we have gifted Crude Bitters, based in Raleigh, with great success too. They have such fun options for the cocktail connoisseur in your life.
Weezie Washcloths – I love these cute little washcloths with classic piping in fun colors, but also the ingenious makeup removing washcloths for guests. Never worry about ruining guest towels again – how smart and cheeky!