This year more than ever, people are interested in supporting small businesses and individual artists/creators when shopping. So many people and small businesses are struggling in this wild ride called 2020. The mega-companies and their billionaire CEOs will be find, but maybe not the local businesses you love in your community, the restaurants and cafes, the small businesses. the creative folks selling their wares.

This year, an art group I’m in called MN Visual Journal Collective has put together a Handmade Holiday Buyer’s Guide. It features 9 artists/creators who are selling their work online. I’m grateful to be a part of it with my shop on Redbubble. There are a variety of artsy offerings including jewelry, prints, handmade crafts, cards, stickers, classes, and more. The guide is in the form of a PDF with active links. You can download it here:


Please also do what you can to spend your $$ in your community this year. Get some takeout from your favorite independent restaurant. Skip the Big A and look to your independent bookstores, even if it is costs a bit more (it will keep the dollars in your town). Buy people gift certificates. All this will help.

This morning, I read a FB post from Bill Penzey, who runs Penzey’s Spices. He has been writing really heartfelt and inspiring posts and emails for several years, especially around social issues and the election. His company is a great one to support– they always seem to have special offers and freebies, and the spices are wonderful. Today’s post was very insightful and informational about small businesses and the upcoming holidays. I think he has some good ideas. Here’s an excerpt:

Please help small retailers! Can we all unite this year in support of making the time of Christmas gifts a season of giving rather than just a one-day event? This year’s Black Friday started the holiday with just half the store shoppers of a year ago. For the small retailers that make up 30% of America’s economy, our lack of getting COVID under control is turning more and more into an extinction level event. This is a tragedy unfolding right in front of our eyes. It’s time for all of us to roll up our sleeves to help before it’s too late.

Hanukkah runs December 10 through December 18. Kwanza runs December 26 to January 1. Maybe this is the year to borrow from the wisdom of these traditions and not try to cram all the goodness that is Christmas into just one day. I certainly don’t have all the answers, and maybe Christmas Week or the 12 Days of Christmas is what consumers would be most open to…

How would this work? That’s up to all of us to figure out, but I see it as mainly two key pieces. One would be that no one anywhere should see a holiday gift as arriving late before January 8…. To save lives, this year more gifts than ever need to be delivered, and the number of delivery workers and vehicles just isn’t large enough to get that all done by December 25. Two extra weeks would make all the difference.

The second key piece is extending holiday sales promotions right through January 7…  Two extra weeks of holiday sales would mean everything right now. Two extra weeks before gifts would be late allows this to happen…

Equally important in all of this is just embracing the idea of an extended holiday season yourself. So many small businesses are on the edge of going under and it sure looks like help won’t be coming any time soon from anyone other than us consumer. This is up to us. Two extra weeks of Christmas to save millions of jobs. Seriously, why not? Thanks for caring, thanks for helping,

Yes indeed– thanks for caring, thanks for helping. And thanks for taking a look at the PDF file for the Guide, or checking out Penzey’s Spices (I especially *love* their Justice blend, which I sprinkle on so many dishes but especially eggs).

It’s a weird year, but I’m so glad we’re all in it together.