'Tis the season for giving gifts, whether it’s for family, friends, teachers and beyond. We have some fantastic gift ideas from area makers to help you shop small.
Why should you shop small?
There are so many benefits to buying from locally owned vendors. It makes a big impact on the local economy, supporting jobs and creating local tax revenue. But also, non-profit organizations generally receive an average of 250% more from small business owners.
You can get some inspiration from our Makers section on our website where we feature several crafters from the Champaign County Area.
A wonderful stocking stuffer, or teacher gift, are the hand-made soaps from The Wright Soapery. You can find them online but also at the Market in the Square in Urbana every week. These soaps are works of art and very fragrant!
For your friends and family that love art, check out Prairie Fire Glass in Monticello where artist Jim Downey uses his passion for glassblowing to create stunning pieces of art. His shop on the Square in Monticello is so colorful and just a joy to walk into. You can find something to match any décor. Not only can you gift his creations, but you can get someone the experience of blowing their own glass with his Hot Glass classes. It’s a truly unique gift idea.
You can also get some quirky hand-drawn t-shirts from Scobar. The artist, Scott, has created many unique t-shirts. His Shampoo-Banana shirt is a play on Champaign-Urbana and can be found at Bohemia in Downtown Urbana and also online.
For the foodies in your life, pick up a jar or set of jam from Autumn Berry Inspired. This locally-made product is made from autumn berries, which is considered an invasive species. The owner, Dustin, found that autumn berries are actually highly nutritious and edible. He’s been making jam and fruit leathers for a while now, and just recently harvested 6,000 pounds of berries. You can gift this with some goat cheese from Prairie Fruits Farm(my favorite combo!) for a complete maker set. His jam is available at Common Ground Food Co-Op and online. You can also have it when you dine out at Pizzeria Antica.
Finally, check out Mrs. Emily for some clothing for the women in your life. I’m wearing my shirt that I picked up at Made Fest back in September. Her shirts are “encouragers of women” with empowering or quirky sayings. She also makes fun baseball and stocking caps that just make you happy.
Of course, there are countless local boutiques and shops that have unique finds that will surprise anyone on your list! The Champaign County Area has over 250 shops to choose from, so no reason to shop online!