Why I’m choosing Small Business Saturday for my holiday shopping

I’m not a fan of Black Friday. As both an introvert and a person working diligently on my goal to buy less, it’s easy to see why that shopping day is just not for me. But I also take issue with the way Black Friday has been sneaking into Thanksgiving time, taking workers away from their families and friends on what, I feel, is an important holiday for our country.

I’m not going to lie. I’ve been tempted by Black Friday myself. A few years ago, there was a major chain running a great Black Friday deal on a camera, and I really wanted to get my husband a nice camera for Christmas. Having never done Black Friday before, I didn’t even know how it worked.

My understanding of Black Friday was limited to the horror stories I heard about on the news—long lines, in the cold, people stampeding each other for DVD players and video game consoles. Yet, I admit, I was still tempted.

So I called the chain store and got the information I needed. Apparently, you stand in line for hours to get a “ticket” for the possibility of the particular camera I was after. If other people in line in front of you wanted your camera, you were probably out of luck because the store only stocked a select few of their Black Friday sale items.

I kindly thanked the woman who explained this to me, and that was the end of my Black Friday experience.

But while my introverted tendencies definitely have me wanting to hide at home and shop completely online, I also understand the importance of supporting our local economy and jobs, so, this year, I plan to shop Small Business Saturday.

As a backyard homesteader, mom, teacher, and lover of pretty much all things handmade, I have found there are some great small stores in the Bangor area that can provide us with some excellent holiday shopping options. And, no matter where you live, I would encourage you to support small businesses with your holiday shopping. Additionally, consider supporting local artisans as much as you can.

Here’s my list of must-haves for this chicken farmer and homeschooling mom. All of these can be purchased locally.


Books are the best presents for both kids and adults, and books are high on our family’s priority list. Every year, we buy our youngest a pop-up book for the holidays, and this year, I’ll be getting that book at our beautiful, local children’s bookstore, The Briar Patch. Books are gifts that just keep on giving, and pop-up books are fun and make books exciting for kids.

Unique and/or handmade items

There’s a beautiful hand-carved spoon I totally have my eye on for a friend and a real Venus fly-trap plant I have my eye on for my son. You can find both of these things at Bangor’s Rock and Art Shop. They also have awesome poetry readings quite frequently. This is the kind of place I totally want to support.

Warm and cozy homemade accessories

Although most of my family lives “away” in Texas, I still like to send warm and cozy accessories as gifts. After all, there’s still winter in Texas. It lasts like four weeks, but still…

In my ideal world, I would make scarves and mittens myself, but until I learn how to knit, I’ll be buying these things this year at the Blue Alpaca Ranch & Store. It’s in Belfast, but you can shop their store online and still support an amazing Maine business. And, trust me, I saw their stuff at the Blue Hill Fair. It’s beautiful!


If you don’t have time to bake or cook for local friends, we have some amazing shops and restaurants downtown. I don’t know about you, maybe I like food too much, but I love to get food for the holidays. So I’m giving some food to my friends. What a treat would it be to get a bag of fresh bagels from Bagel Central or a sweet chocolate candy from Specialty Sweets! I know my son could really go for a chocolate lobster. Plus, you can shop at these local food places to refuel while you shop this holiday season!

cookies from Bagel Central

Umm, yes please! Photo courtesy of Bagel Central.

So this is my list of gift ideas and places to visit for my holiday shopping, but I encourage you to support local businesses throughout Maine this season. Please share your favorite local ideas and shops in the comments below.

Honestly, this homesteader would much rather have a handmade dishcloth with a chicken on it than a new television anyway. What about you?

Crystal Sands

About Crystal Sands

I am a former academic and award winning writing teacher turned hobby farmer/homeschooling mom/freelancer. In 2015, after too many years of working too many hours, I decided to change my life. This blog shares my stories related to making the change and simplifying my life–a process that began when we finally got our first chickens. In this blog, I will share my experiences learning how to hobby farm on a small place in Maine, become more self-sufficient, live frugally, live peacefully, and have more time for love. I hope you will join me on this journey by following my blog and following me on Twitter @CrystalDSands.