We Bought a Farmhouse

stories of renovation, home decor inspiration & sprinkles of country life

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Small Business Holiday Shopping Guide

If you like to start your Christmas shopping early, then you and I have a lot in common. The older I get, the earlier I start. About four or five years ago, I started to finish all my Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving, and let me tell you, it's allowed me to see the magic of the holiday season in a much bigger way. I'm not stressfully running around for last-minute gifts, waiting in lines at stores, or getting anxious that my Amazon order won't make it in time. I may wait to buy one or two things that I know will go on sale for Black Friday, but other than that, once Thanksgiving comes around, I know I can go into the Christmas season completely stress-free.

Each year I try more and more to buy things from small businesses. This year, I'm doing a holiday shopping guide, in two parts. The first, focusing on shopping small, and second, sharing ideas from more conventional retailers. 

Let us begin by shopping small!

My personal favorite things on this list are from Farmhouse Pottery. They're based in Woodstock, VT, and I drool over their Instagram feed on the regular. What I love about FP is that their pieces are classic, and they can work in any home design, be it rustic, modern, traditional or, you guessed it, farmhouse. I bought my first FP piece this past June, and I'm so smitten with it, and I love that it's handmade in New England. But, beside that, their pieces are truly dreamy. My picks from their shop selection are their 1. Maple syrup and bell pitcher boxed set (who doesn't love to make pancakes in flannel PJ's on a cold winter Sunday morning?), 2. Silo soup mug (for cuddling on the couch on a snowy day with an oversized mug of soup), 3. Milk bottle match striker (for lighting all those winter candles and starting your evening fires), 4. Beehive baker (pricey, but an incredible heirloom-quality, functional piece that can be handed down to generations).

Photos courtesy of Farmhouse Pottery.
If you're feeling like a splurge, you could even purchase a workshop session in their studio in VT. Someday, Josh and I would love to do this - and what a great gift idea for a couple, mother/daughter or best friends weekend getaway, right?

My own first Farmhouse Pottery purchase. 

Those who know me well know that my love for Organic Bath Co. products runs deep. I first discovered their Drenched body butter a few years back, and I've exclusively used it since then. I've also branched out to try their sugar scrubs and their Nourish Night Balm, and all these products continue to be in constant rotation in my bathroom. Going into the winter season, I cannot recommend these enough. The Drenched body butter is the most amazing, moisturizing one I've ever tried, and I personally find the fact that it's fragrance-free amazing so it doesn't irritate me while I sleep. The Nourish Night Balm is perfect for dry skin in the winter, and their sugar scrubs exfoliate your skin, while leaving it incredibly moisturized once you're out of the shower. They also donate a portion of each sale to the Global Soap Project, an organization that provides soap to underdeveloped countries.

Photo courtesy of Organic Bath Co.

I feel like men are more challenging to shop for than women, and that could be because women just use more stuff than men. But while browsing Etsy, I found this shave cream from Moss N Oak, and it sounded like a great little stocking stuffer for men. It's infused with Argan oil, which is my favorite for skincare moisturization, and it's also infused with peppermint, pine and lavender essential oils, which will smell perfectly woodsy and clean for the winter season. Neither Josh or I have tried this, so we can't speak to its quality, but the shop has stellar reviews on Etsy, and I'm awfully intrigued by it.

Photo courtesy of Moss&Oak on Etsy.

If you don't find goats irresistible, then I don't even know who you are. Beekman 1802 has been growing in popularity over the years, but I still consider them a small business, I suppose. I guess you could argue me on that one, but I thought they more so belonged on this list versus a conventional retailer. Whenever I use my Beekman goat tote for groceries, farmer's markets, or sometimes even as a work bag, I get compliments on it. Reusable bags are great for a variety of reasons, as we all know, so get one that's super cute for a farm animal lover in your life. Every season, they change the design, so it's not the same as the one I have, but every design I've seen has been super cute.

One of my favorite types of gifts to give are personalized ones, and Etsy is the best place to find these types of gifts. When I was browsing Christmas decor on Etsy in October, I stumbled upon a shop called Black Butterfly Signs, and they make personalized door mats. For someone who just purchased a home, or really, anyone, a door mat with either their name, or a saying you know they'd like is such a fun gift to give. My personal favorites from this shop are down below (if you have a Seinfeld-obsessed friend or family member, you need to check out bottom right).

Photos courtesy of Black Butterfly Designs.

I also love getting people personalized mugs from Etsy. This past May for my sister's birthday, who is a nurse, I got her a Trauma Llama mug, and it was a hit. I feel like everyone has too many coffee mugs, and yet, not enough at the same time, especially if it's personalized with your name, or a funny saying. A standout Etsy shop for fun coffee/cocoa mugs is Sweet Mint Handmade. They have something for everyone, and their designs/font choice are awesome. Below is a sampling of my favorites from this shop.

Photos courtesy of Sweet Mint Handmade.

You had to know that I would work Cape Cod in here somehow, right? We bought a candle from Cape Cod Soy Candle at a boutique in Chatham a few years ago, and it's so lovely. I mostly bought it because of the beautiful mason jar and label design, but the fragrance is perfection. We got the Cape Cod Cottage scent and love it. I have yet to try any others, but they're always on my wish list. For winter, their Holiday by the Sea scent smells like perfection in a jar.

Photo courtesy of Cape Cod Soy Candle.

Going back to Etsy for a sec, I really love the idea of getting someone an illustration of their home or happy place. Great for new homeowners, or someone who travels to a place that gives them all the feels, if you send in a photo of the home or place, an artist on Etsy can draw or paint it for you. I actually plan to do this for our house because I have the perfect place for an illustration of it. There are so many artists on Etsy, and it's hard to choose just one, especially because it depends on the recipient's style and taste. To give an example, though, here's a house watercolor from an artist, landgpaperco, on Etsy, that I personally admire.

Photo courtesy of landgpaperco.

I love the t-shirts from Sneaky Bacon Tees. My personal favorite is their You Had Me At Pizza tee because, well, I have an obsession with pizza. They have so many funny t-shirts, though, that would make a memorable gift for someone you know.

Photo courtesy of Sneaky Bacon.

Lastly, Josh wanted to chime in and say, "Buy local beer!" For anyone who enjoys a good microbrew, he'll often go out to a brewery near us to grab a growler or a six pack to bring with us while we travel for Christmas, and pour people glasses, or give them as gifts. For us, we live local to Brown's Brewery, and he also grew up close to Southern Tier Brewery (which, by the way, their Warlock beer is hands down the best I've ever had. It's a seasonal beer of epic proportions). Southern Tier can be purchased in a lot of stores now, but these are the varieties we had on hand. So anyhoo, that's his way of gifting a little taste of home.

Beer-y Christmas, everyone!


  1. I love your taste in gift giving ideas. They are personal, warm, inviting and intimate. It's always fun to see what ideas people have when it comes to that time of year....and having beer to end things on a good note was absolutely brilliant. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hope all is and continues to be well.

  2. These Christmas gift ideas are great. Not only are they budget friendly, but they also look amazing too. They are a lot more personalized too.

  3. Glad to see these amazing pictures and collection of holiday shopping. I really liked the party preparation pictures of one of the pleasing meeting space San Francisco posted by my cousin. They had their office party over there. Decorations were quite appealing and flower bouquets were superb.

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