THE BLOG
12/02/2016 06:20 pm ET Updated Dec 03, 2017

Making this Year a Small Business Christmas

I don't know exactly when or where or how it started, but we've become a society of "days." Mother's Day and Father's Day simply weren't enough. Did you know that November 23rd was National Cashew Day? Or that November was National Model Railroad Month? I could not make this stuff up, although clearly, someone did.

So it should really come as no surprise to anyone that Saturday was "Small Business Saturday." And I personally think that whoever deemed it that was a tad stingy. One day for the individual entrepreneur or the mom and pop store? Really?

So I decided to take matters into my own hands, by encouraging people to think outside the box and inside the hearts and souls of artists and artisans when you are gift giving this year.

Here is a smattering of products and sites I thought were worth mentioning...

If you are looking for beautiful cards to send for the holidays themselves or for other life occasions, the hand designed cards at Honest Mama (https://honestmama.co/) are a nice way to go. The website itself caters to moms, with a portion of the proceeds going to related charities. So you are not only supporting a small business, but there is an extended ripple effect of good when buying the products.

If you are looking for something for very young children, why not incorporate learning in the fun? Picturefirst Learning (http://www.picturefirstlearning.com/product-category/home/) is an excellent choice to entertain while educating. Created by an Educational Psychologist and a Reading Specialist, Picturefirst products utilize activities to convey the meaning of words that are needed to build reading success.

Coloring books are all the rage recently, even for adults. Two I really like are:
Tai's Skating Coloring Book (http://www.taibabilonia.com/shop.html) by Olympic figure skater Tai Babilonia, which features whimsical images all donning figure skates, of course.

The second is by R&B soul artist, KF Hoxie and it is called Screaming to be Free (http://kfhox.com/kfhox), which is the companion coloring book to the song of the same title. It is an empowering message, especially for young people, in the context of a fun coloring book.

One of my favorite artists, Brian Nash, not only has his work in galleries, wineries and publications, but also has branched out into American-made pajamas and apparel. So consider purchasing his "art for the child at heart" (http://www.briannash.net/new---.html) as well as his Lala Land products (http://lalaland.online/).

Who doesn't love a piece of one of a kind jewelry? T's Keys (http://www.tskeys.com/welcome.html) are gorgeous pieces made from vintage keys and beads. I received one of these as a gift and love it. Maybe you will, too.

The mainstream public seems to have recently discovered the beneficial properties in essential oils. They not only smell good, but can be used in cooking and as home remedies for myriad things. While there are many kinds out there, I think the best quality ones are from doTERRA (https://www.mydoterra.com/debicochran/#/). And the rep in the this link is a walking encyclopedia of anything you could want to know about essential oils and these products.

If you love ceramics that are art, functional, and one of a kind, you must check out Gabart (http://www.gabart.co/). This Colorado artist's work is gorgeous and would make anyone's home more beautiful and be a welcomed gift.

Millions of people believe in angels. Sure, I'm partial, because it's my last name, but if you are looking for something for the angel lover in your life, consider books and products by Terah Cox (http://www.terahcox.com/72-angels.html).

And if you are a fan of Christmas music, and want to gift it or buy it for yourself, or both, why not check out some indie artists? My three favorites that I listen to this season each year are: BethAnne Clayton's Remember (http://www.bethanneclayton.com/music.html), Makky Kaylor's Glad Tidings (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/makkaylor), Christopher Finkelmeyer's Unforgotten Christmas (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/unforgotten-christmas-original/id879572612).

Another thing I want to offer up, especially if money is tight, is to write a card or letter to the people in your life and tell them what they mean to you and why. How we make each other feel lasts forever in our hearts and does more good than we often know.

So shop small and share some kindness this holiday season. We could all use it.