Support Small Businesses this Holiday Season

It’s undeniable: the holidays are here. What tipped us off? If it wasn’t the foolhardy refrain of “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…” blaring in the background of every retail store then it must have been the unbearably dark afternoons (thanks, daylight saving time). 

Time to make that holiday gift list. You’ve got siblings, nieces and nephews, in-laws, your parents, neighbors, and maybe your favorite barista (gotta show your love for those cappuccino rosettas). You might already have a pretty good idea of what to give some of these folks. (Clearly, your brother deserves a lump of coal.) But the odds are good, you’re scratching your head wondering what to get others. 

Rather than impulse buying a case of scented candles to give everyone, consider supporting small businesses, meaningful nonprofits, and the like. Not only will it make you feel great to use your cash for good, it’s a better story to tell the recipients too. Match each person’s interests with the organization you buy their gifts from. 

Humor’s a Great Gift 

Chicago's Second City
Chicago’s Second City

The Second City is a Chicago staple. What started as a small cabaret has grown into a thriving community of comedians, actors, and artists. Whether improv is your thing or stand-up makes you smile, give the people on your list shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, and more with The Second City’s slogans and designs. 

Give the Gift of Hope 

Nonprofit Hope for the Day
Chicago-based nonprofit Hope for the Day

Hope for the Day champions mental health awareness, working to proactively prevent suicide. They’re a Chicago-based nonprofit that facilitates meaningful conversations about mental health, raises awareness for suicide prevention, and provides safe spaces for learning and education. Let folks in your life know it’s ok not to be ok with artist-designed t-shirts, framed art, and cozy blankets.  

Help Kick Childhood Cancer’s Butt

St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer and donor-powered charity, working to raise awareness and support research for cures for childhood cancers. They host all kinds of events to champion research and work with families impacted by cancer. Give the gift of awareness for childhood cancer research. 35% of each t-shirt, sweatshirt, or other item from St. Baldrick’s Artist Shop goes directly to fund childhood cancer research.  

Show Love for Animals

Red Door Animal Shelter
A furry resident at Red Door Animal Shelter

Red Door Animal Shelter is a no-kill nonprofit animal shelter that rescues dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, and ducks. They’re giving thousands of animals in need new lives and new homes. For all your animal lover friends and family, Red Door Animal Shelter’s shirts, mugs, and totes are truly the purrfect gift.     

Support Science and Underwater Creatures 

The latest exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium
The Shedd Aquarium’s latest exhibit

Deep dive into the magic under the waves with the Shedd Aquarium’s t-shirts, zip-up hoodies, and more. The Chicago-based cultural institution and nonprofit does incredible research and advocacy for all forms of underwater life. Give all your fish-loving friends aquatic-inspired apparel this holiday season. 

There you have it—gifts for everyone from decent organizations, small businesses, and nonprofits. First, order gifts that support these great organizations. Then pat yourself on the back for getting all your shopping done. (Now you just have to wrap everything—we can’t help you there). Happy shopping, and season’s greetings!   

Sarah Fischer

Doting on my house plants is how I fill my time when I'm not writing, reading, running or playing with my darling cats, Evelyn and Charlie. In a past life, if any of us live more than once, I might have been a French poet or horticulturalist. Powered by: beautiful cake, morning sunlight and black coffee.