5 Local & Independent Gift Ideas

As I have written here several times, buying local is good for so many reasons including boosting the local economy, providing local jobs, and knowing who and where your goods come from. A benefit to consumers is that local businesses know their community, they know the products and services that those who live there want and need, and because many of them also live in that same community, they know you.

And, not that you need another reason in addition to these, but the recent garment factory fire in Bangladesh from unsafe working conditions resulting in the deaths of 112 people should add a more convincing reason to do so.

Buying locally doesn’t just mean buying at retail stores. Here are some other places and ideas that make great gifts while supporting local businesses.

Give a practical “service” oriented gift to a local hair salon, day spa, or even more practical like a window washing, car detailing, or house cleaning service. Many businesses sell gift cards or will make you one if you just ask them.

Give the foodie in your life a gift card to a favorite local restaurant, coffee house, bakery, deli or even an independent grocer.

Or, if you live near a year-round farmers’ market, you can make your own gift basket. If you live near local farms or farm trails, many of them have their own gift shops or stores with unique items that run the gamut from health and beauty products to fresh baked pies. Better yet, some farms offer cooking and gardening classes. A gift certificate for one of these would be a great gift.

The art lover in your life would love a membership to the local art gallery or museum, tickets to an upcoming art or show, or even a class at the local art center.

The same goes for those theater and music lovers. Depending on the size of the community you live in, this can mean tickets to a local theater company or tickets to an upcoming national production.

If you aren’t sure where to start or what’s near your friends and loved ones, there are several great web sites that list many independents by business type.

Here are some sites to get you started:

American Bookseller’s Association

American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)

Independent Coffee, Music, Movies, and Organic Food


Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson5 years ago

Fantastic, lots of great ideas here, thanks for posting and arranging.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Great ideas. Thanks.

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago


Kamryn M.
Kay M5 years ago


Laura H.
Laura H5 years ago

Thank you so much for the ideas for expanding local gift purchases. My gifts every year are a combination of home made and local purchased...the recipients really enjoy the back story on the gifts.

Lin M
Lin M5 years ago

I always buy local.

Rebecca S.
Rebecca S5 years ago

I'm trying to make lots of homemade gifts this year!

greenplanet e.
greenplanet e5 years ago


Stella Gamboni
Stella Gamboni5 years ago

Gift baskets are great, if you put it together yourself. Pre-made baskets are usually viewed the same as saying "I couldn't be bothered to think of anything personal or to make much of an effort. so I got this."

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush5 years ago

It only makes sense to support local businesses, unless you don't like where you live.