I've tried to be more aware about where I'm putting my money in the past few months. A few weeks ago, I moved all my funds to a local bank, and though I'm still a sucker for a Starbucks latte and buy most of my clothes from Gap and Banana Republic — girls like me need to shop where the long sleeves and 36-inch inseams are — whenever I can, I'm passing my plastic's well-worn magnetic strip through an independent shop's machine. Long before this year's Small Business Saturday, I had resolved to do all my Christmas shopping at local or independent businesses. And with the exception of a few last-minute gifts bought in a Kansas City panic, I did it. And it felt good.
So, without further ado…BE LIKE ME! Here's my after-the-fact Christmas gift guide, inspired a little bit by Helena of Bye Bye Bitters, who is much better at blogging than I am.
A set of Cards Against Humanity, described to me as Apples to Apples for terrible people. It's not that Tim is a terrible person. But Tim's idea of a good time is taking jokes far beyond their point of propriety; mine is apparently spending hours cutting out tiny cardstock squares with vulgar phrases on them.
A Muppets tee from Threadless. 'Nuff said.
An autographed copy of Dan Sinker's The F***ing Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel — Twitter + politics = high comedy — from the Book Cellar, the best little bookshop in the world (unless it's tied with Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kan.).
House keys. Copied at Andersonville Hardware.
An ornament and little book from Foursided, her favorite shop in Chicago. Conveniently located in the same block as the salon where I get my eyebrows threaded, it's wall-to-wall trees come holiday season, packed with ornaments and other Christmas kitsch.
I felt a little silly going all Crazy Cat Lady until I saw Holly with Hazel yesterday. We stopped in Des Moines on our way home from Kansas City, and she is absolutely smitten. Nothing will replace the amazing laser pointer she bought herself at the pet store — Hazel makes the strangest chirping sound when she chases the red light — but that girl loves her cat. I'm happy to encourage that.
For my father…
A hand-picked collection of cigars — to add to the ones in his grandfather-clock humidor — from Up Down Cigar, just up the street from Old Town Oil. Some of my fondest memories of my dad while my parents were still married involve him smoking cigars in the hot tub, steam and smoke swirling together and suspended in the winter air. (THE fondest: Him jumping out of the hot tub, rolling around in the snow, and hopping back in with a whoop.)
Holly gave him bacon from Nueske's.
For my mother…
A gift certificate for a massage with Hope at Bijin, her favorite spa in Prairie Village. She made appointments for Holly and me while we were home; we were in heaven for an hour each, and it didn't seem right for her to miss out on that bliss — especially the 15-minute aromatherapy steam shower afterward. So we treated her.
A bottle of Death's Door vodka — made with grain grown on Washington Island in Door County) from City Provisions and bloody Mary mix bought on the peninsula. (The day I graduated from KU, we skipped the commencement speeches and shoved off to drink $2 bloodies garnished with pickles at Louise's West, and we've been in search of more weekend cocktail perfection ever since.)
So, yeah. It was a challenge, but I did it.
Yes, avoiding chains and corporations can be pricier and more time consuming — I forgot what it was like to shop for almost everything in brick-and-mortar shops — but it's worth it to find those perfectly special things that suit the people you're gifting.
The funny part? (I mean, kind of?)
When I opened my gifts, it was a mess of corporate whoredom all over the place. I'm pretty sure all my books came from Amazon. The clothes were all full-on chain bought. There was certainly free shipping involved.
And that was actually fine with me.
Because my new iPad is shiny and bright, my cast-iron Dutch oven from Williams-Sonoma is luxuriously hefty, this massive Pendleton grandpa sweater from Anthropologie will wrap me in warmth for the whole winter, and my Tory Burch flats are heavenly clouds under my feet.
Old habits die hard.