Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lets go shopping: the 2014 holiday gift guide

Where has November gone?! With Thanksgiving mere days away, the holiday season is upon us, which means holiday shopping has also arrive with a bang.
I love the idea of shopping locally as much as possible for holiday gifts, and the concept of Small Business Saturday. Helping hardworking people who work full or part time to support their primary occupation, which is often farming or ranching with the folks I know, makes me happy. Plus, I love the unique, high quality items I'm able to round up. I am also thrilled that the Internet now allows me to shop "locally" with small business owners from all over the country and world.
In celebration of Small Business Saturday, I've compiled some of my favorite people and places to buy gifts, or that I have recently found and plan to shop at in the near future.

1. The local Christmas Bazaar. Do you have one of these in your or a nearby community? If you do, go! My hometown has an annual Christmas Bazaar that features everything from homemade soaps and jewelry, fashion and food to local reps for companies like Pampered Chef and Norwex. I have done some serious shopping there in the past, and always try to make the now three hour drive back whenever possible.

2. Everything By Erin. This gal is from my hometown, population 1,000-1,500 people. She can sew pretty much anything, with her specialty being the cutest custom stick horses! What kid doesn't want a horse in their favorite color, or that looks just like dads? Whatever their wish, she can make it happen. Erin also makes a variety of other sewn items, many with a western touch, and can outfit your entire household with custom items.

3. Millar Soap Company, LLC. Ok, this may get confusing, but when I said hometown, with Erin I meant where I went to school. With Millar Soap, I mean the town that is closest to the ranch I was raised on. Located in Lance Creek, WY, population about 30, Millar Soap makes everything from bar soap to foaming hand soap to shaving soap, all available in a variety of great scents! She has a variety of other bath and body products to choose from as well. Even men like her soap products - my husband and brother are both fans.

4. Cowgirl Crush and The Spicy Cowgirl. While I must admit I have never made a purchase at either of these places, it is only because I am not a big online clothes shopper for fear something will arrive and not fit. But, if you have no such qualms both of these ladies carry some seriously awesome items, and both run specials from time to time that will make splurging all the easier : )

5. Children's books by ranch ladies. I don't think it gets any better - you can buy the little people in your life an agriculture themed book written by someone that actually lives in agriculture. Two of my favorites are "Levi's Lost Calf" By Amanda Radke and Michelle Weber and "Charlie the Ranch Dog" By Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman).

6. Just Plain Punchy. This is a very recent discovery of mine, but with numerous friends expecting, I am looking forward to ordering some of the super cute onsies and other baby items in the near future. Very cute baby clothes that to me (not a mom) appear to be practical items that would work great for daily wear and tear.

7. The South Dakota Cowgirl's horse themed items. From calendars to prints to Christmas cards, you can cover the horse lover on your list with ease by heading over to fellow South Dakotan Jen's website. She does an awesome job photographing horses and providing high quality gift options made from her images.

8. A newspaper or magazine subscription. Here comes my pitch for the papers I work for - many weekly agriculture newspapers run awesome holiday specials, often it's the cheapest time of year to buy or renew subscriptions. Plus, everyone from grandpa to family across the country likes to read and keep up on the latest news, market reports and bull sale results. Also, while some publications are not owned locally, the newspaper staff are likely members of your community, and subscriptions and advertising are what write their paychecks.

9. Old West Cedarmill. Touching quotes, poems and images burned on cowhides or leather, and ready to be hung in your home. One of their "Tradition" pieces hangs in my living room. My husband and I bought it before our wedding, showcased it at our reception, and still love it today. If you happen to attend the National Western Stockshow, you can also find this great company there.

10. Last Loop Rope Art and Wyo. Skies Wild Rags. This lady and her daughter are both incredibly talented at all sorts of things, but I particularly like her colored rope d├ęcor. Plus, where I'm from everyone wears wild rags in the winter, and having someone to purchase them from is a necessity.

11.The Peterson Farm Brothers merchandise. Surely you have heard of these guys and their ag parody's? Well, if you haven't, go to YouTube and search for them. If you have, I'm sure one of their t-shirts, posters or other items is on your Christmas list as it is on mine. They do a wonderful job promoting the agriculture way of life, and the items they sell would make great gifts for just about anyone.

12. Your local photographer. No matter who they are, they will appreciate the business and pictures make great gifts. Schedule a family photo session and give them to parents and grandparents framed, purchase prints, ask about having landscapes of your operation done, or inquire about other photo ideas you've been wanting to complete for years. The sky is the limit. Many also do calendars, myself included, and I would love to sell you one as much as your local photographer would like to : )

Where do you like to shop locally? Who did I miss? Comment and let me know your favorite place to shop for gifts, or what you make that people should know about while doing their holiday shopping.