Greetings!  I hope that you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving and holiday weekend.  For the first time, I cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws.  Last year, if you recall, I cooked a boatload of food, too, but this time there were more of us.  On Sunday, we had a second Thanksgiving dinner with family who were out of town on Thursday.  I am so grateful to have family close by.  We all live no more than 15 minutes away from each other.  The holidays are always extra special with family around.

What also makes the holidays extra special are handmade gifts.  I may be preaching to the choir, but nothing compares to gifting someone with an item that was made by hand with love.  I was fortunate to snag deals for up to 70% off on Etsy.com this weekend.  I felt good supporting small businesses and family businesses.  It was spectacular buying items that are handmade, and saving a lot of money in the process.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/61149213/shahrazad-soap-with-amber-spice-citrus

Shahrazad Soap from UrbanEden.etsy.com. Fabulous natural scent (tuberose, amber resins and more) and decadent moisture.

 

The bottom line is that it was just the right thing to do, for me, to support other businesses during this rough time in the economy.  It made me happy to know that these gifts will bring great joy to others, and to myself, as I’ve stocked up on several favorites and staples this holiday season.  Most of all, I was happy that I did not have to fight eager and impulsive crowds lined up at big box stores for deals that began as early as 4 a.m.

 

Mandie Earrings by JewlLi.etsy.com.

That is so not for me.  Other than the Nintendo Wii that my husband convinced me to stay out all night at Toys R Us for — in cold November Midwestern weather, right before Thanksgiving four years ago — I have not and will not fight the crowds for commercial products ever again.  Handmade quality is infinitely better.  Tell me what product you can buy in big box stores that is infused with the personal touch and positive vibes of a person who created it with pure joy and love from his or her soul?

 

Molasses Tea Cake Sweet Body Rub from SkinFolk.Etsy.com

None.  There are simply none.  Starting Thanksgiving day, I grabbed my laptop and surfed around Etsy and a few other sites for good deals.  I already had my shopping list prepared.  Admittedly, I went over budget because some deals were just too good to pass up.  With all of the talented, dedicated, and eco-friendly sellers on Etsy.com, Artfire.com, and elsewhere, how can you not support them this holiday season?  Why not invest in artisans whose labor lies at the core of the promise of a growing U.S. economy?

 

http://www.etsy.com/shop/wildroot/search?search_query=cacao&search_type=user_shop_ttt_id_5339435&shopname=wildroot

Vanilla Rose, Chai, and other Cacaos from Wildroot.Etsy.Com

Although Black Friday and Small Business Saturday (a new shopping event) are now over, today is Cyber Monday.  Shop at Etsy.com, Artfire.com, and elsewhere to find some fabulous deals on jewelry, accessories, foods, bath and beauty, perfumes, clothing, and several other items.  Of course, there will be more deals to be had as we count down the days to Christmas, but from my experience, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are often the best of the year.

I want to end this post by reminding us that we can make holiday gifts this year, too.  If we have the time and the talent (and often times talent is not needed, per se) we can make nice gifts for family and friends at minimal cost and infused with our own personal touch and love.  This year my husband and I are making handmade gifts for our family and friends.  We are going to package them in gift boxes similar to these:

Check back for postings on handmade holiday gift ideas.

Did you do any cyber shopping or in-person shopping this weekend?  What are your shopping and gift making plans this season?  Please help get the message out to support artisans of the handmade!

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