This year, my mission was to do most of my holiday shopping through small businesses – and I have largely been able to stick to that mission.
Here are a few of my favorite local small businesses that can cover almost anyone on your list.
10 E. Broadway, Alton, IL 62002
Funky Planet Toys granted my wish by opening up a toy shop in Alton! They have a great selection of science and engineering toys, trucks made of recycled plastic, unique games, glow-in-the-dark puzzles, and craft supplies. For the holidays, you can bring kids in to create their own wish lists for Santa. They do something similar for birthdays.
The Kid at Heart
116 E. Main St., Belleville, IL 62220
Do you sometimes find yourself thinking you wish you still had a certain toy from your childhood or is it just me missing my favorite Care Bear? Check out I Had That! They offer a wide variety of toys, collectibles, and memorabilia from our pop-culture past and present.
The Kid and Their Kid-at-Heart Parent
200 S. Kirkwood Rd., Suite 104, Kirkwood, MO 63122
You can never go wrong with LEGO. We visit The Minifig Shop every time we are in Kirkwood. They have boxed sets, pre-built items, minifigs, and bulk options. The staff is great – they even helped my aunt construct the perfect doctor minifig family for my cousin.
7905 Big Bend Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63119
This bookstore became my most-shopped locale during the pandemic. I could call or message them and order all the books I needed, since the library was closed. They have so much more than books. There are games, puzzles, jewelry, reading accessories, and Ted Lasso merch.
The Music Lover
2720 Grovelin St., Godfrey, IL 62035
A new addition to the shopping options in the Riverbend, this record shop gives you all the vintage feels. They obviously offer a wide variety of new and used vinyl options – but there is a wall of cassettes and CDs as well. All the albums are labeled, so you know what to expect when you play them.
2320 Troy Rd., Edwardsville, IL 62025
Can you ever have enough spatulas, pancake flippers, or whisks? Not only can you stock up on kitchen essentials for your favorite home chef here, but they have popcorn and fudge to add to your cart.
The Beauty Guru
123 W. Argonne Dr., Kirkwood, MO 63122
I like to introduce clean beauty options to friends and family, and SammySoap is my new favorite find. They make their soaps on site. Depending on the day, you can take a tour to go behind the scenes. When you walk into the store, the aroma surrounds you like a warm hug.
The Candle Lover
I love a good candle or wax melt – the scents can take you on a journey – that is the inspiration behind this candle brand. Based here in St. Louis, Dianna Allen uses her travels and a keen sense of seasonal changes in the environment to bring the outdoors inside. Did I mention you can pick these up locally?
The Lady Who Never Has Enough Bags
Bags from i.e. fit the niche of being friendly to the environment and are incredibly functional. They’re made from paper pulp and have a classic, stylish look. I ordered my first bag in March and have received countless compliments. It’s wearing nicely, and the more I use it, the softer it gets.
If I am looking for something special and can’t find it find locally, like socks with Josh’s face on them, Etsy is my go-to. I have a handful of shops I return to again and again.
A long-time favorite for fun and unique gifts is Uncommon Goods. When the catalog arrives in the mail, it is the first thing I read. With such a diverse array of handmade products from around the world, the possibilities are endless.
Don’t forget to check out your local Crafted in “insert city name” groups on Facebook. Local crafters and mommas with side hustles selling their wares to area buyers.