I don't know how many times it can be said in various clichés, but 2020 has been a doozy. I'm trying hard to support small businesses and local businesses because I know this year has been extra tough for them. No shame in buying big box because sometimes that is just easier and/or cheaper, and I know it has been an extra tough year. However, I'd like to use my corner of the internet to promote some small businesses and organizations in Maryland (and beyond) that might not get as much notice during the holiday season. Just a reminder that there's other ways to support small businesses besides being a patron-spreading the word, sharing their sales and events, joining their email list, and sharing on social media are all helpful.
Also be sure to check out my update Holiday Gift Guide for Runners (Under $30) post if you are specifically looking for gift ideas for you or a special runner in your life.
To keep this list flowing, I'm going to share the link to the store, a brief description, and any important highlights. Most are Maryland, Baltimore based (all the local love from me always), but all are shops that I have personally purchased their products and/or plan to support this holiday seasons. Obviously there's lots of overlap between categories so please click around the entire list. I plan to add to it over the next few days (I have so many businesses I want to highlight!) Feel free to comment with another small business that I should check out!
Also be sure to check out the Charm City Craft Mafia Holiday Heap 12/4-12/6 that is going virtual this year-it's a great opportunity to discover new local makers and purchase unique gifts for loved ones.
WhitePaws Run Mitts: A favorite local business I'm always sharing that makes the WARMEST mittens for running and beyond as well as this year's new hot items-face masks and gaiters!
Rachel Mulherin: Stunning jewelry self-described as "bohemian glam vibe" that specializes in geode statement earrings. I own the butterfly necklace and evil eye pendant necklace which I adore wearing for special occasions and everyday.
KSM Candle Co: Before the pandemic this year I attended an in-person candle making class which was a really fun experience. I have since purchased multiple soy candles in unique, natural scents. The shop sells their soy candles as well as other goods including DIY candle kits.
Caddington Clay: Handmade polymer clay earrings from Megan in Silver Spring, MD. She started making polymer clay earrings in June this year and has grown in her business and skill so much. I love how fun her earrings are-making a great gift for someone else or yourself this holiday season. Last day to order for Christmas arrival is 12/16.
Maryland Mercantile: A local maker offering Maryland-themed gifts and goods including cards, mugs, and kitchen towels. The MD Little Christmas Ornament is a personal favorite gift to send to friends out of state.
AmyScripts: A custom calligraphy design shop that has lots of cute goods featuring calligraphy including kitchen wear, cards, masks and stickers. I have my eye on a few ornaments to gift this holiday season including her 2020 collection inspired by 2000s pop punk/rock music that speaks to my high school self.
The Broken Plate: This shop by a Baltimore local offers handmade upcycled and repurposed jewelry made from broken china. You can send Juliet your china and she can turn it into custom jewelry. Check out her shop on Etsy and her website for more selection.
Oak City Crochet: A shop based in Raleigh, NC offers accessories and home decor that are fun, unique, and all handmade by Megan including hand-dyed scrunchies and crocheted stocking ornaments.
JamiCreatesThings: Jami sells whimsical doodles as t-shirts, stickers, prints, and more. I love her "Be Kind, It's Free" tees and totes as well as her beautiful stickers.
SouvenirAndFar: Really cute shop with "retro-inspired apparel for down to earth babes". I love their affordable,comfortable cotton tie dye masks including the Philadelphia Eagles tie dye mask (retails for only $6)!
Pandora's Box Boutique: My go-to boutique (located in the heart of Federal Hill in Baltimore) for one-of-a-kind statement earrings, home goods, and accessories. I recently bought a sequined mask there that is absolutely fabulous.
The Codex Club: A boutique with clothiing, home goods, gifts and more from 50+ local artists. It's the perfect place to grab a Baltimore-centric gift or support local makers.
Brightside Boutique: A go-to local women's boutique for when I need a small gift. You can shop in person at their various Baltimore-area locations or online for trendy clothing from nationwide brands sassy home wear, jewelry and more.
Arrow Clothing: Trendy and affordable women's clothing and accessories from an online boutique.
Poppy & Stella: Shop online or in-store at this boutique that is known for it's fantastic collection of footwear but also carries unique apparel, accessories, beauty products and more.
Mint+Major: Local women's boutique (shop online or at their store at Shops at Kenilworth in Towson, MD) offering a unique mix of apparel, home decor, accessories, and more.
Gifts for Her
Erica Sara Designs: Handcrafted, one-of-a-kind jewelry for the strong woman in your life including beautiful runner/race-specific jewelry, unique sound-wave engraved pieces, and custom jewelry engraved with your loved one's handprints, footprints or PAW prints (just melt my heart right now!). Order online by 12/14 for domestic delivery by 12/25!
Food & Drink
Reminder to support your local restaurants and breweries this holiday season. Gift cards always make a great gift. If you have some fellow beer lovers in your family, a 6-pack and some brewery merchandise (t-shirt, hat, etc.) from a local brewery makes a great gift.
Mouth Party Caramel: Delicious, small-batch caramels (free of nuts, gluten, soy, high fructose, and trans-fat) with yummy varieties including additions like sea salt and Old Bay.
Gundalow Gourmet: Check out their location in Whitehall Mill in Baltimore or shop online for yummy treats (HIGHLY recommend the chocolate chip cookies), gourmet goods, cooks' tools, and more.
Cane Collective, LLC: Their Cane Mixers are a way to bring craft cocktails right to your own home-just add your liquor of choice! The mixers include varieties such as Guava Tiki Punch, CA(n)E Southside, and the seasonal Cinnamon Cider Punch. These would make the perfect virtual party gift!
Services to Gift (To Others or Yourself!)
Dietician Jess, LLC: Jess is a dietician based in Pittsburgh, PA who offers nutrition counseling and wellness programs. I met her through running (what else?!) She is launching her next nutrition group program for runners in January (schedule a free discovery call here.) Gift yourself a head start on crushing your goals for 2021.
Bushelers of Baltimore: Bushelers of Baltimore is a local tailor that offers alterations and reapirs of garments as well as garment personalization/customization. They now offer e-gift cards which could be a great gift for someone to alter or repair a piece that is special to them for a perfect fit or to custom a jean jacket to make it all their own.
Maryland Non-Profits to Support
I love supporting my local community so I encourage you to find similar organizations to suppor that may be in your area. There are plenty of amazing national organizations out there who deserve support including: ACLU, Crisis Text Line, Environmental Defense Action Fund, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Water.org, Center for Reproductive Rights, and Hope for the Warriors.
Sharp Dressed Man: This Baltimore organization has been around since 2011 and partners with local organizations to provide men enrolled in training programs with recycled suits for job interviews. Clothing is an important resource for someone who has been struggling and is working to obtain employment, not only necessary for the task but also extremely important in building confidence in someone. Sharp Dressed Man has provided suits to over 7000 men in the last 5 years alone.
United Way of Central Maryland: During the holiday season, this non-profit which helps local families achieve self-sufficiency accepts donations to ensure local families involved in their housing programs are able to celebrate the holiday season including gifts of clothes, books, and other items.
Maryland Food Bank: Due to the effects of the pandemic, more Marylanders are in need of food this year. The Maryland Food Bank provides more than 40 million meals to Marylanders each year and 93% of their resources go directly to their programs. I know this is a larger organization, however I feel that especially this year it is important to ensure that no Marylander goes hungry.
House of Ruth Maryland: House of Ruth provides services and resources including food, shelter, legal help, and counseling to survivors of domestic abuse and their families. You can donate in many ways including donation of necessary items on their wish list.
Maryland SPCA: Animal organization out of Baltimore offering pet adoption services, education/outreach, humane care, and veterinary services with 99% of their budget coming from donations and program fees. This is not the organization from which I rescued my furbaby cat this year however I know many people who have adopted wonderful pets from the SPCA so they definitely deserve extra support during a year when so many have added new furry members to their family.
Debriefing the Front Lines, Inc: A non-profit in Baltimore offering a variety of emotional support services for registered nurses and healthcare professionals across the US including the Heal the Healers Project and the Heal the Healers Daily Communication Initiative (appointments available here). The Daily Communication Initiative is where my friend and registered nurse Tara sends an originally authored daily text message of love and support to healthcare workers before their shift, opening up a conversation for the participant. Donate and follow along on social media. Tara inspired me to highlight non-profits in this post so sending her some gratitude.
What is a small business you are supporting this holiday season?