I have a feeling this post is going to land split right down the middle in reception. I bet 50% of people reading are annoyed that everyone’s talking about holiday shopping already, and the other 50% are as excited as I am for holiday cheer.
Yes, I put Holly and Holiday Traditions onto the presets in my car on November 1. And yes, I’m finished with my Christmas shopping already. Not sorry. I fucking LOVE this time of year. And there’s a reason I’m talking about it today.
One thing I’m not a super huge fan of, like a lot of other socially conscious folks, is the sickening amount of corporate greed and scarcity marketing and psychological BS and unconscious capitalism that runs rampant this time of year. Maybe that sounds a little aggressive, but I mean, it’s true. Like, do we really need all this stuff? All these sales? Is it not a reason why so many people get pissed off this time of year?
Maybe, in the interest of our collective joy, we take a different approach. Look at consumption and generosity a little differently this year. An thoughtful, intentional, impactful gift – for yourself or someone else – can be incredibly powerful.
I read something recently that made so much sense to me, and also validated my ongoing practice of doing a lot of research and seeking out very specific kinds of companies to spend my dollars with – there have been tons of supply chain issues since the start of the pandemic, and they’re still ongoing. Many of those supply chain issues affect the bigger brands and larger corporations. Guess who’s not particularly affected by them (in most cases)?
Think about it – those local and small businesses can not only meet your demand immediately, but they’ll also benefit the most from your purchase and create local economic impact. So if you’re like me and wanting to spend some money and share thoughtful and impactful gifts with your friends, family, and community, why not get intentional about your investments this year?
And hey, I’m here to help.
Because I actually get asked about this fairly often. Like, you know about so many things! And I want to purchase from women-owned or Black-owned or whatever types of businesses too, but how do I even find them? Y’all. I love ya, but come on. We know how to use a search bar. I said intentional, so set aside a little time to make it a priority…instead of spending that 30 minutes wandering Target.
In fact, I’ll help you get started and share some of my favorite local makers and ideas, some more across the country, and even a few examples of bigger businesses that are still mission focused and doing good work. With that…
KT’s Intentional Holiday Investments Inventory!
I’m obsessed with Little Seed Farm. It’s a small, sustainable goat farm in Tennessee with really incredible soaps and other skincare products. Plus, hi, goats. (That link will get you 10% off!)
I’m also a huge fan of CAUSE+MEDIC. Great name, right? This is CBD and botanical skincare, completely locally farmed and produced in central Colorado. My husband uses the CBD pain cream every night, and it has really helped his hands. Plus it smells amazing.
I do not skimp when it comes to good skin care, and I’ve tested out a lot of green stuff – from super high dollar to more reasonable but still effective. The bulk of my routine is now made up of Ursa Major products, and my skin looks and feels the best it ever has. Plus, super fresh plant-based ingredients and B Corp! (That link will get you $10 off!)
Forber Art is a local artist I learned of through my coworking space. I had the pleasure of learning about his art and process and story (it’s so good!) at a lunch and learn event.
Kelsey Shields Art is another local artist we learned of on a trip to Steamboat. Both Marty and I fell in love with her buffalo prints, and if you love landscapes, you’ll probably love her work too.
I recently learned that one of my dear friends started making and then selling resin art on Etsy. Cool, funky, small gifts live here!
I’ve been a Craft Boner devotee since I met Kiwi personally a few years ago. She’s amazing, and pretty much anyone will laugh at her products and want at least one sticker for your water bottle. But particularly appealing to the true Millennials among us!
I got a “Screenplays about my cat” notebook years ago in a gift shop in Telluride, and when I filled it up, I finally tracked it down to Mincing Mockingbird. Turns out their entire shop is gold. I mean, there’s an entire collection called “Troubled Birds.” So good.
Dope Mom Life Creative Content Agency. Enough said, right? I learned of this agency when I listened, rapt, to the founder, Dianne Myles, at a panel for women in small business. She’s a powerhouse, and so is this work.
Start talking about money and equity with The Pledgettes. Several chapters throughout the country, plus virtual events and community.
Want to do a better job of being (actually) inclusive as a fitness professional and/or just generally unlearn toxic fitness culture? Decolonizing Fitness is your go-to resource.
Create a body-compassionate and weight-inclusive world with Be Nourished. So many amazing resources, workshops, programs, and coaches. I’ve learned a ton in the workshops I’ve taken, and very much incorporate the work into my own coaching and personal practice.
Olive and Olde’s makes zafu cushions (typically used for meditation), and they’re kind of the thing you didn’t really know you needed. They’re hand cut and sewn, responsibly sourced, and give back.
OK, I waffled back and forth on collagen for years until I saw my sister-in-law’s hair a few months ago and she shared it was the one thing she added to her routine in the last year. Seriously, that was some mermaid shit. But, like any other supplement, it can be dicey. Enter: Further Foods. Women-owned and run, sustainably sourced, and giving back. Plus, super tasty. I’ve tried most of the products and I’m impressed. (You get 15% off your purchase through that link!)
I love baking. We know this. I watch a lot of baking shows. We know this too. One of which was Bake Squad (I LOVE Christina Tosi), where I learned that one of the amazing pastry chefs on the show is local! Squeeee! His chocolate shop, Miette et Chocolat, is less than a mile from my house, and the bonbons and tiny cakes make fantastic gifts. Yum. Check it out.
I also love cooking, and the secret to tasty food, no matter how basic, is good quality spices. Find them at Penzeys (along with badass social justice focused emails and pins and really good family recipes).
Ethically sourced, locally roasted coffee, supporting women in recovery: Wagon Coffee. (Get it?) So into it.
NA Bottle Shop + gift cards for use at Awake Denver. You buy me some, I’ll buy you some, and voila! Holiday social happiness sans hangover. (Bet you thought I was going to share some sugar free wine scheme with you or something, but if you can’t tell, sober living is something I’m very much into.)
Denver Bazaar – an ever-evolving makers market. Yes, please! (There is almost surely something similar in your local area. Check it out.)
Sozy. That stands for soft and cozy, and truly, that’s exactly what their clothes are. Plus, female-founded, B Corp, 1% for the planet, and 10% of profit supports survivors of sexual violence.
Cariuma. Apparently, these sneakers are viral? I don’t know, but they are sustainable, cute, and comfy AF.
Coalition Snow. If you’re into winter sports, you need to know about this brand. Way cool designs and apparel for women, plus their tagline is #shredthepatriarchy and their email newsletter is called Lady Parts. Awesome.
Know how I’m always sharing quarterly book lists? Find a collection of all kinds of favorites here for purchase, with many having digital options as well. FYI, Bookshop.org supports local bookshops. You’re welcome.
Women in Sustainability is an amazing local organization doing such good work in the area, plus a ton of awesome education on, well, what sustainability really is in the first place, and how we can accomplish it. (I’m joining as a Founding Member.)
Women’s Bean Project is an incredibly powerful organization I found last year which provides stepping stones to self-sufficiency through employing chronically unemployed women. I promptly made a huge donation in honor of every one of my clients as a holiday gift. (*Ahem* sometimes, the best gifts are the ones like this, not the ones with a logo that you inevitably end up shoving in a closet somewhere.) Cool thing about WBP is that you can support monetarily, or through purchasing products, which also make great gifts!
Undestructable promotes healing and provides employment to survivors of intimate partner violence as they rebuild their own hearts, souls, and confidence through craft/making/building/selling. I know the woman who founded this organization, and I can vouch it’s powerful, real, sustainable work.
Please note that a few of these links are affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through them, I’ll make a few bucks or get a credit of some kind. (You likely will too.) Please also note that affiliate links are not evil. In fact, a lot of times, for small businesses or especially solo entrepreneurs, they’re a much needed way to increase income and provide a little extra stability while supporting other values-aligned businesses.
That said, if you’ve been thinking about gifting yourself any of my courses this year, consider yourself one of my VIP affiliates. Use the code INTENTIONAL for half off all the courses in Self-Discovery School – Fitness Unraveled and Foundations of Self-Discovery. It’s good for 50% off payment plans too.
Now, if you’ve gotten to the bottom of this list and haven’t seen anything that interests you, but still like the spirit of this endeavor, do this: close this tab, open a new one, put in your search terms for the kind of gift or item you’re looking for, then add an additional search term, like “Denver, CO” or “women owned” or “ethical” or “Black owned” or “LGBTQ+ owned.” Really, the possibilities are endless, and you’ll be surprised and delighted by what you can easily find that supports your values and your community.
One more thing: don’t wait.
Don’t wait till next week to see what else is out there or if discounts will come up. Don’t wait till right before whatever holiday you celebrate. Remember, small businesses generally operate on very tight margins, and holiday season makes or breaks them for the whole year. The more you can spend with them, and the earlier you can do it, the better. It’s a huge feeling of relief to meet sales goals and know you’ll be financially stable early in the season.