• Emily Arden Design

Local Holiday Gifting Guide

By the time I publish this, it'll likely be too late to order gifts that will arrive on time. And maybe that's OK... It feels this holiday season is all but canceled this year, doesn't it? Especially if you live in California, where newly restrictive Stay at Home orders have been announced, through January 4.

And yet, I've been heartened to see how festive folks seem to be feeling, in spite of - or perhaps because of - the lack of normalcy this year. One side of my family included - we're across the country from each other, and of course have no plans to meet in person. My step-mom has instead started a daily holiday text chain where we're sharing sparkle and cheer with each other. Old family photos, links to festive things, adorable pics of my newborn nephew in Santa hats... that kind of thing. I also feel incredibly grateful to be able to be with my mom this holiday season. We don't have a ton of long-standing holiday traditions, but I imagine we'll be inventing some new ones this year.

If you're struggling to find ways to stay connected with loved ones and friends this season, and maybe are feeling the holiday blues creeping in, perhaps discovering ways to feel festive and keep those spirits up are in order. After all, the onset of this holiday season means we're that much closer to putting 2020 behind us, and that's something to celebrate, right?! Maybe you're donating to organizations in your loved one's names, gathering for Zoom parties, or... what else are you doing?! I've seen some incredibly thoughtful small acts of kindness across the interweb. What are some of your faves? Will you be trying them?

If you are in the position to gift this year, shopping locally, and supporting BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Womxn artists is a FANTASTIC way to not only send lovingly personalized presents, but it also supports these artists and small business owners at a time when they could use it most. And it will be just as important to support them after the holiday rush is over. So maybe you'll want to make a plan to place your post-Xmas order, schedule a gathering (virtually) with your people in January, and celebrate your way into the new year in a way that feels especially special / hopeful / intentional. We all could use a dose of that, couldn't we?

I've lived in many states, and have had the fortune to connect with artists + makers in all of those places, so 'shop local' hits a little different for me. Here I offer a few of my favorite things in the last two places I've lived - the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, DC (plus a little bonus Philly shout out, though it's been so long since I've called Pennsylvania home, my list of local merchants is pretty short).

Photo from Red Bay Coffee (taken in the before times)

SF Bay Area

Red Bay Coffee

Oaktown Spice Shop


Queen Hippie Gypsy

Brothers and Sisters Flowers

Moe's Books (they also have a shop set up on bookshop.com)*

Shop your fave Museum or Gallery store!

Gift an experience at your fave live arts venue!

Washington, DC (DMV)

Zeke's Coffee

Black Pepper Paperie Co.

Rose Jaffe (Rose Inks)

Bailiwick Clothing Company

Soul & Ink

Politics and Prose*

Shop your fave Museum or Gallery store!

Gift an experience at your fave live arts venue!



World Cafe Live (for your music lovers)

Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books*

Shop your fave Museum or Gallery store!

Gift an experience at your fave live arts venue!

*for the kiddos / kids @ heART on your list, may I suggest ordering titles by Mahogany L. Browne, Shane Evans, and Jason Reynolds from your local bookstore!

Even More Gifting Lists

SF Chronicle: Support these Bay Area Black women-owned businesses this holiday season

RIA Main Street's Procrastinator's [Virtual] Holiday Market

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