Don’t hate me, but I am almost finished with my Christmas shopping. Okay, yes, my husband is Jewish. So while it may appear that I get off easy, I do give him a nondenominational winter holiday gift because I seem to turn into a giddy 12 yr old girl on December 25th. But seriously, I inventoried the gift stash, and I think short of a few straggling goodies, I may be done. And the best part is every item I purchased was from a handcrafter or a small mom and pop shop. It feels GREAT!

Turning Point Clay Studio at the John Campbell folk School Fall show. This may or may not be your Christmas gift…I’m just saying…

Okay, this buy handmade does hit home because, well I have a small yarn business. Asheville is full of great small businesses. For the last couple of years, September has been a nail-biter for so many of them. The economy has really crunched the little shops around the corners with many of their customers either opting for cheaper big box stores, or not spending at all. I have even noticed how my sales seem to be a bit slower than this time last year. So in an effort to help out some of my fellow merchants during the crunchy months, I started my Christmas shopping really early. Like September early. And in September, I also vowed to only buy from small businesses and hand crafters this holiday season. To my surprise, I am not spending more money than I would in the mall (ok, that is if I ever went to the mall, I am not a big fan of the mall). So this season, rather than getting a bunch of prefab stuff, my family will be getting a good quality hand crafted gift, or specialty item that the shop owner completely loved and identified with when they decided to put it in their shop. And because I started ridiculously early (well for me, I am usually a Dec 24th shopper) I have had time to select items leisurely as I attend local craft fairs and browsing shops.

Axcents Pottery at the John Campbell folk School Fall show. This, also, may or may not be your Christmas gift…

There are a few organizations that promote small business. Please join me joining them. Buy hand made, support small business. Buy handmade this holiday.