Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Give Good Gifts this Year (and Fuel the American Economy)

It's not like me to read a spammy, forwarded email. But my friend Susan sent me one worth reading. It spoke about how we can shop for the holidays in a way that supports our economy and our country. Instead of buying crap made in China (no offense, China), we can buy locally made products and services. 

I've ripped off the entire email, rather than copy and paste it, and gave it my own local spin. What I will add (that the email didn't), is don't give a gift with strings attached. Don't take someone out to dinner, or to a spa. Instead, give them a gift certificate to go themselves. Let them choose to invite you. It's much more of a gift that way.

And while I refuse to put out a Christmas decoration until Black Friday, I think writing about shopping (since we are all so smart and getting it done early) is okay.

For those who "need a little Christmas, right this very minute", here's a Christmas tree with a sign that reads something to the effect of "Everything on this tree is for sale". Um, thanks...

  1. Buy gift certificates to independently owned restaurants, to give as a gift. Local options are The Station in Mountain Lakes; The Second Half on Main, Cafe Metro, and the Denville Diner in Denville; Montville Inn and Columbia Inn in Montville; and Chili Willies and Roma Pizzeria in Boonton. 
  2. Get a gift certificate for a hair cut or two at a friend's favorite salon. Include some good shampoo and conditioner with it. How about a manicure or a pedicure? I get manicures for all of my friends for the holidays, from my favorite nail salon, Denville Nails. You can always give that along with some quick dry polish, or a 2011 ornament. You can even (heads up for the shameless plug) give them a Domestic Goddess candle or some of my Mail Me stationary to go with it.
  3. A ten pack of car washes is a great idea, or a gift certificate to get their car detailed would be great. Can't afford that? Wash and detail the car yourself! Now that's giving.
  4. My favorite one from the email was this, pay for a season of snow removal or lawn mowing. Every time the driveway gets cleared or the lawn gets mowed, your holiday gift will be remembered as the gift that keeps on giving.
  5. Get local items. Ward Vogt Designs makes town card sets. Local sets include Celebrate Mountain Lakes, Scenic Denville, and Historic Boonton note cards. They are sold locally at A Dash of Thyme Gourmet in Denville, Savannah Hope Vintage (has all towns), and Heavenly Temptations (has Boonton cards, and Santaland card packs) in Boonton, and Simplify Marketplace in Mountain Lakes. Out of towners can get them online by clicking here. He also sells larger prints of images like The Cove and Downtown Denville at Dawn. Get one and frame it for someone special. No time? His local photography (Morristown included) hangs at Mara's Cafe in Denville on permanent exhibit and is for sale. So if you see one you like, call him to arrange to buy it (973) 784-3030 or email 
  6. As I've said a hundred times before, gift certificates to independently owned and operated shops is a fabulous option. Let your friend discover something they want while supporting a local business. Here's a list of my favorites: In Boonton, Savannah Hope Vintage, Bubba Rose Biscuit Co. (for dog lovers), Heavenly Temptations, and Bobby's Main Street News. In Denville, Dash of Thyme Gourmet (they make great gift baskets, too), Surprises In Store, and United Smoke Shop (I love that catch-all shop). In Montville, Barry's Montville Pharmacy (a smaller version of Mendham's Apothecary) and Montville Florist (they sell my candles - support them!). In Mountain Lakes, of course, is Simplify Marketplace. 
  7. Make dinner for someone and deliver it to their house. Make something they can freeze (packed ready to freeze, with reheating instructions) like lasagna. Or bake them a big batch of cookies and include the recipe. That's my gift to all my vendors this year, homemade cookies in a reusable Ball jar.
  8. Make your own ornaments or buy them at small shops. Pleeeeeease, as much as I love Michael's, don't buy your ornaments at chain shops! Buy locally. Handmade is even better.
  9. Lastly, please join me and a bunch of amazing people who are doin' it for themselves! Come visit our pop-up holiday shop on Saturday, November 26th from 10 - 5 p.m. at 106 Broadway in Denville. Handmade items and independent consultants from labels like Stella & Dot, and Willow Home. To me, this is still indie, because these people are running their own business from home! Free admission includes wine, cookies, and coffee. Details below.

Come get all of your holiday shopping done without the stress (and predictability) of the mall. Shop all of your favorite stores on Broadway in Denville, and then stop by our festive gift boutique for unique items, handmade stationary and paper goods, homemade candles, jewelry, cards, make up, and tons more fun items. Baked goods too.

It will be warm and fun, and filled with friends.

FREE wine while you shop. Coffee, too.

Come have fun with us! This is being held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We are very excited! JOIN US! Street parking! 106 Broadway in Denville (I've rented out the Let's Create Art Studio)

Some fun vendors include:

  • Smith Letterpress
  • Stella & Dot Jewelry
  • Ward Vogt Designs
  • Savannah Hope Vintage
  • Willow House (beautiful home goods)
  • Domestic Goddess Candles
  • Mountain Lakes Bar Method (with lululemon)
  • Jillian Zoltner 
  • Lynsey Gwiliam

Grab breakfast beforehand at Denville Diner, then afterward, go get a manicure, and have dinner at one of Denville's amazing dining estabilshments like the Second Half on Main.

For more info, contact me at


  1. None taken.

  2. I am reading this blog and silently cheering for The Domestic Goddess!
    And hysterically laughing at the end......

    Thank You again DG for your selflessness and support.
    My shop smells divine with the new Domestic Goddess line. (I dont even have to burn them and people still walk in and say "oh your shop smells soo good"!

    I too encourage everyone to "Shop Local". I live in Boonton, my shop is in Boonton and I make every effort to support local small business(Denville still needs help everyone! It helps us all (and saves on gas too!)

  3. OHHHH I forgot to add my shop is Savannah Hope Vintage (named after my daughter)

    I sell one of a kind hand painted furniture, recycled, repurposed,handmade and vintage gifts and home decor.

  4. Thank you Andrea! I love that you carry my whole line :) You rule!