Holiday gifting can be stressful in general, and this year — well, it might feel impossible! Many of us aren’t just searching for the perfect gift; we are trying to be intentional and impactful with our giving. If you feel overwhelmed by how you can support your community as you do your holiday shopping, you’re not alone. We are right there with you!
You might feel the pressure to save the world this year. So many need our help right now. But the whole point of supporting local and shopping small is knowing who you are impacting and how it benefits your community — whether you are making a financial contribution to a favorite nonprofit or stocking up on candles and earrings from a local maker.
It’s natural to wonder if your choices might seem shallow or insignificant. But, when you are helping someone feel confident in how they look after they’ve had a baby, gotten divorced, or had a mastectomy — or creating a space for a new blended family, or someone who never thought that they’d be able to own their own home, it gives you a different perspective.
For those out there hustling as a side-gig musician, first-generation American entrepreneur, artist and single parent, transgendered maker without family support, small but mighty nonprofit staff, or small business owner coming out of generational poverty and just starting to find assurance in the market, what you have for sale matters to you — and each purchase, gig, or commission is significant. Sometimes saving the world starts with saving your neighbor’s business.
Our staff has come up with a few picks of our own — gifts we’d love to give and receive — just in case you needed some inspiration.
This is the year to put your money where your heart is. Make a contribution to a cultural organization that aligns with the interest of the recipient. If someone has kids, a membership to the Birmingham Zoo is a great gift! Make a donation to the Alabama Symphony or Opera Birmingham if you’ve got a music lover on your list. If someone’s passion is social justice, give to the Jefferson County Memorial Project in their name — or donate to Jones Valley Teaching Farm for the foodie on your list.
It’s no secret that our family loves a charcuterie board. It’s basically an adult lunchable. You can find everything you need for a perfect holiday board for yourself or a friend at Stone Hollow Farmstand. While you’re there, find some great stocking stuffers and treats from other local makers and ask them about gifting a seasonal CSA.
The shops at our beloved local institutions have gifts for all ages and interests, and your purchases help support these nonprofits as they weather an incredibly tough year. I’ll be doing my holiday shopping at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Vulcan Park & Museum, McWane Science Center, Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
I love the idea of subscriptions — gifts that keep giving all year long! We are all spending so much time in our homes, so anything that brightens up your space and sparks joy speaks to me. Gaia Florals offers a discounted rate on their artful and elegant bouquets and arrangements if you sign up for weekly, biweekly, or monthly pickup/delivery. It’s a great way to let loved ones you might not be able to see in person know you’re thinking of them.
This year, I plan to watch the Brown Sugar Nutcracker by Ursula Smith Dance Academy at home with my family. You can purchase tickets for the virtual performance here. Celebrate the season and get inspired to give the gift of dance by purchasing online classes with the Ursula Smith Dance Academy too!