When I was a kid, I was obsessed with The Little House on the Prairie series of books (not the TV show -- my mom didn't like me to watch it). One of my favorite things about the books was the Christmas chapters -- detailed descriptions of how the pioneer families celebrated the holiday, including the gifts they received. These gifts tended to be things like pennies, oranges, and homemade trinkets.
Well, most kids today would be ticked if they received pennies and oranges in their stockings. But luckily, we're living in a crafty resurgence, where you can surf the web for gifts made by human hands just like they were in the "olden days".
If you want to buy something artisan-crafted, you'll probably want to order ASAP, as buying directly from artists can take a bit longer than your typical order on Amazon.com.
Here are a few of my favorite artisan-created gifts this year:
I ordered a print from Sophie Blackall's shop for someone that I love. I especially like her "Missed Connections" series, in which she illustrates the missed connections ads from newspapers. (Prints run about $40.00)
5 Seed is a natural beauty company that sells beautifully-packaged products and informs you about all of the ingredients that go into them. I haven't tried them yet, but I've heard great things and I've been considering what I want to make my first purchase. (Products range from about $5-$20).
I love fairy tale art, so I adore the work of Anne-Julie Aubry, who sells under the name The Nebulous Kingdom. Her calendar allows you to enjoy her work without having to choose one print over another! (Calendar is $29.50 and ships from France)
For another way to ring in 2011, check out Danita's shop. Danita is a self-taught artist and uses many themes from Mexican folk art in her work. Aside from prints, she also creates dolls and jewelry. (Calendar is $18.00).
I once read an interview with Benicio del Toro in which he said he wore a wooden ring because he could always "knock on wood." I found that idea incredibly attractive -- much better than knocking on my "wooden" head the way my mom advised. On Etsy, you can find a great selection of wooden rings to keep your loved ones safe and sound. (Click here for more rings. Ring above, can be found here for $45.00 and is made of recycled wood)
*All photos are owned courtesy of the sellers. Hopefully they enjoy some free advertising.