Once, when I was much younger, I stood in line at 4am to get into a big box store. I was with my aunt and cousins, and we were there to get the free Beanie Baby promised to the first 50 customers. I think we were also taking advantage of a great deal on electronics, or some such.
That was my first and last Black Friday experience. I dislike shopping, I especially hate crowds of shoppers, and I’m really not into standing in the cold in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter. I count myself blessed that I’ve never had to work retail during this hellish season, (seriously, have you seen this bullshit?), and this year I intend to continue my yearly tradition of staying the hell out of the fray.
Why am I ranting on the internets? My super-secret agenda for this post is to steer you away from the big boxes and in a hand-made, artisan direction. Namely, Etsy.
Many Etsy stores will be doing promotions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and—icing on the cake—by taking advantage of those promotions you’ll also be participating in Small Business Saturday. Aaand you won’t have to wrestle extreme couponers at Target at 2am.
Oh, and the gifts you give will be awesome, unique, and treasured for way longer than an imported plastic gadget.
(And you won’t have to go to Target at 2am.)
I’ve collected some of my favorite cyclist-related Etsy items to help you get inspired. If you’re in the Northwest, you really also ought to think about taking a trip down to Portland for the Bike Craft show on the weekend of December 1-2.
By the way, if you’ve been eyeing anything in the Bicitoro Etsy store (custom-made cycling jersey? reflective belt? Rainy day earrings?), I’ll be offering free shipping from 11/23 through 11/26.
For the ride
Check out these beautiful bike bags from California seller Paris Packs and Hans Bagworks in Missoula.
And really don’t miss these really unique ones from Pencilnek Designs.
For the ladies, Mercy and Ruth Handbags make some truly adorable handbags that strap onto your handlebars.
Mercy and Ruth
I love the idea of a simple belt that can carry your essentials on your ride, like these cycling belts from Stashpack. There are other designs, though I don’t see one with a u-lock holster, which I think would be necessary.
These cycling belts from Bird Industries do have a u-lock holster. (And check out their sweet skirt garters while you’re on the site.)
Around the home
Cyclists can be obsessive sorts of people. They not only like to ride their bikes, but they like to be reminded of bikes wherever look. These bicycle book ends from Shine on Sporty Girl are pretty damn awesome, and she’s got a great selection of ornaments, too.
Shine on Sporty Girl
Also? I love this lamp by Ensoule.
Or you could just decorate with your bike, with this super classy bike holder from Joshua Rutherford.
Stocking stuffers and Ornaments
Wandering Jeweler makes all sorts of neat jewelry out of recycled bike parts.
Laura of Surly Girl makes these delightful star ornaments out of bicycle chains, and Artful Ends makes snowflake ornaments out of recycled inner tubes.
This bicycle can cage from Walnut Studios looks pretty ingenious, as well. After all, it really doesn’t work to put your beer in your water bottle cage. (You can go ahead and buy one of those for me. Merry Christmas!)
For you DIY folks
Guys, there’s still time to pretend you’ll make your own hand-made presents, if you’re the
crazy crafty type. Or, give one of these kits to a crafty someone who’d enjoy learning something new.
Make a hat from these pattern from Kozie Prery or Little Package. (Both shops also sell ready-made hats if you come to your senses.)
Here’s a cool seat bag pattern from Hemma Designs, or try your hand at electronics with this nifty DIY bike light kit from Electric Apparatus.
Whew! What great indy-designer finds have you come across out there?