Okay. Before I write this it simply must be known that I abhor Christmas decor, etc. before Thanksgiving. Sorry, but the Turkeys need some love too. That said, I am also willing to acknowledge that a fair amount of Christmas shopping must be done before Thanksgiving when on a budget. So, in light of the frugal and budgeted shoppers during this holiday season, I thought I might suggest a few places to shop that would support the local economy/handmade/fair trade industry. Moving on...
1. Imagination Station - I cannot say enough about this fantastic toy store. For starters, it's like Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Without Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman. Although, I'm fairly certain they would love this toy store. Seriously, if Sesame even hears the word "Imagination" she starts squealing "Mah-juh-nay-sin." "Why?" because they allow children to play with the toys! That's right, they have a play kitchen out, a train set, a tent, a giant marble track and even an old closet converted into a bedroom for several little dolls. They generally carry unique toys that insight creativity and, my favorite, learning!!! Every toy we have from the shop is consistently played with. Love.
2. by Tavi - I own a large tote from this site that I purchased at a Christian business fair in the summer. The bag is handmade by women in Cambodia trying to support their families. Center for Global Impact (CGI) is purchasing sewing machines and sewing lessons for these women in Cambodia with the hope they will learn a trade that can support themselves, their villages and families. But, as the website states, "...a product without a market is pretty much useless." CGI is attempting to help establish an international outlet for these products, via the website and small art/business fairs. Personally, I LOVE my bag!!! It has two pen pockets, one "cell phone" pocket, a very large zipper pocket inside and comes with four smaller "nesting" zipper pouches. The smallest holds 5 cough drops and the larges holds a 5x7 spiral notebook. Those exact measurements were taken by yours truly. Anyway, I would highly recommend supporting this endeavor and snagging a cute bag for your bestie! : ) Did I just type "bestie" ?! Who am I!? What has this blog done to me?!
3. Tickled Fancy via Etsy - If you've met me in real life, you know I heart earrings. Big, fun, unique earrings. Tickled Fancy has just that. Chic, awesome jewelry at extremely reasonable prices! And by reasonable I mean the earrings are $8.00 not $80. [sigh] Try the store, you can thank me later.
4. Patricia Leeper Fine Arts via etsy - Okay, yes I realize this is a canvas print of a dog, but Patricia Leeper did the same type of print for me of Sesame and Holy Frijoles, it's Uh-mazing! She combines the posterized black and white photo with whatever words you would like on the canvas. Ours has words from the blog describing Sesame and her gregarious personality. This gift comes in a little pricier ranging from $60 (10x10)-$435 (30x30) but is the perfect gift for the in-laws or parents! Patricia is most gifted.
5. Kids Ink Children's Bookstore - This store used to be on the Southside when I was growing up. I remember playing int he store while my Momma sought out books that met her Master's Degree requirements. Now that the store is up on the Northside, we don't make it there as often as I would like to. Nevertheless, it's still reminiscent of the bookstore in You've Got Mail (shame on you if you don't know what I"m referencing, because it's the most charming book store EVER!). Anywho, check it out, you'll love it!