I did not -- would not -- take part in the Black Friday shopping madness this year, but today I found myself wandering around a local Kmart in a state of shellshock, pushed and shoved by frantic shoppers and tugged at by the Maternal Unit, who is very adamant that we invest in an artificial Christmas tree. (It didn't happen today.)
I am now sitting with my feet up, regrouping. For those of you who'd rather do your Christmas shopping sitting in your PJ's and bunny slippers, sipping coffee -- a few suggestions from me:
I've bought fair trade food products, ceramics and jewelry from A Greater Gift and have been very satisfied with both the quality and with speed of delivery. I'm putting together a "death by chocolate" Christmas basket for our office's annual Chinese gift exchange (don't ask) with help from their line of Divine chocolate products, which really are divine...most toothsome. And one of my favorite pieces of jewelry is a colorful, funky-chunky glass bead fair trade necklace from A Greater Gift.
Green Mountain Coffee rocks. And it has an extensive line of organic and fair trade coffees, including flavored blends that are sometimes hard to find elsewhere. They also sell a Heifer Hope blend that benefits The Heifer Project .
If you're able and willing to be a little spendy, a foodie friend might appreciate a gift from American Spoon Foods , out of Petoskey, Michigan, a purveyor of very tasty and unusual specialty food products, very often spotlighting Michigan produce. I recently tasted a delicious mango-jalapeno salsa from American Spoon -- obviously not a signature Michigan food, but it was mighty tasty swirled into soft cream cheese.
For that giftee who believes cleanliness to be next to godliness, a really fun website to visit is Killmaster Soapworks . I met the Soapmistress of Killmaster Soapworks at an art fair awhile back -- she and her family manage a small farm with a multitude of different livestock, and she utilizes their milk in her soaps -- she even makes a mare's milk soap. I have tried her more pedestrian oatmeal soaps and loved their scent and sudsiness. Another favorite soapmaker 'round these parts is Bedazzled of Benzonia, which makes all sorts of yummy soaps -- the minty soaps are a favorite of mine, as well as the bay rum and a pleasantly woodsy/resinous frankincense and myrrh (which isn't on the website, but I bet they'd sell it to you anyway). Bedazzled also sells candles and other products made with bee products.
Down the road from Bedazzled is the Gwen Frostic Studio , an "up north" institution. Frostic was an artist, poet and right-on woman who followed the beat of a different drum her whole life and enriched us all by doing so. Her simple and sometimes whimsical nature prints always make me long for a long weekend up by the dunes.
For tonstant weaders who enjoy my occasional stained-glass graphics -- check out the Christmas cards and other products at Stained Glass Photography . And if you enjoy Carl Larsson prints, check out Scandinavian Treasures .
And, of course, if you scroll down my blogroll, you will find my ongoing plug for the RevGals' Advent and Christmas devotional, A Light Blazes in the Darkness. Get 'em while they're hot! The've already paid for themselves, and are now raising money for hurricane relief in the Gulf. We're shooting for sales of a thousand -- help make it happen.
There -- wasn't that more fun than playing offense in the mall?