An Actually Helpful 2020 Holiday Gift Guide That Supports Real People

Gingerbread house in the snow with the words Holiday Gift Guide 2020 written on the left side. Title image for this blog post.

Welcome to my carefully curated just for you 2020 holiday gift guide that actually supports people just like you and me! If you are one of the fortunate who remains employed during this incredibly trying pandemic, and you have some disposable income to bless others with gifts this holiday season, this guide is for you.

This holiday (or #treatyoself) gift guide is meant to help you focus your shopping in places that will make real life people do a happy dance when you make a purchase. Whether it’s a stay-at-home mama slinging goods as a brand rep for a company she loves and making a commission in the process (hi! me!)… Or maybe it’s a small business in your hometown that is fighting tooth and nail to stay open… Not to forget all of the wonderful independent bookstores out there that provide so much more fulfillment to shop from than places like Amazon (does Jeff Bezos really need to be any richer?)… And, most importantly, there are recommendations in here that also point you in the direction of supporting our black-owned business community plus women in business.

So much thought has gone into these recommendations, that I truly hope you will take the time to click on each link and check out every business. They are all incredible!

Much love and many thanks,


Lea 🙂

Black-Owned Businesses

Top down photo of candles burning in festive holiday table spread.
Now more than ever, we need to support all of the wonderful black-owned businesses out there! Get all of the candles that make up the Diaspora collection from Bright Black Candles, with this set of five full-sized candles. With this collection, you’ll travel the globe and take a scent journey across space and place. The set includes five full-sized candles that honor cities of Black greatness. Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Durham (USA), Kingston (Jamaica), Paris (France) and Salvador (Brasil).

Photo of arms holding 3 succulent plants.
The Zen Succulent is a modern terrarium and plant craft business based in Durham, and can ship plants and accessories to your doorstep! “We play with the concepts of nature’s classical elements (air, earth, water) through our individual terrarium’s use of tillandsia air plants, Japanese marimo balls, vibrant succulents, and more, and how each inhabits its respective landscape.”

Photo of a dropper bottle of full spectrum CBD oil with the name "calm" written on it.
Everly Organics is a high end, yet approachable, organic beauty line featuring CBD oil as a key ingredient. The brand is a unique boutique experience for women of color and women facing unique skin care challenges.

Top down photo of 8 tea cups with various colors of tea arranged in a circle around a red tea pot on a wooden table.
Jeddah’s Tea is firmly committed to maintaining a supply chain that empowers local economies. “We stand for social equity and economic empowerment for all. We endeavor to educate and liberate our community, and to always be open to learning from it. We are dedicated to creating safe space for people from all racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, gender, economic and societal backgrounds, and provide all access for those of all abilities.”

A Few of My Own Business Ventures

Grid of 9 square film photographs of various produce items from a farmers' market.
I have an Etsy shop of photography prints, art, and postcards! Right here is a listing for a set of film photography farmers’ market prints, for the homegrown lover in your life. I’d love for you to check out my shop for other photography-related gift ideas.

Scout & Cellar mini wine bottles and cans sitting outside of a variety gift box in a festive holiday setting.
Calling all wine lovers! I’m obsessed with the clean-crafted organic (and headache-free!) wines from Scout and Cellar. They have lots of beautifully curated holiday wine gift sets, including this gorgeous sampler set!

Photo of 5 super cute dogs posed next to Monat pet shampoo bottles.
Did you know that Monat isn’t just haircare, skincare, and wellness products? They have goodies for pets, too! I can’t rave enough over this pet duo from Monat! It smells incredible! It includes a gentle cleansing dog wash balanced for your furry family’s specific skin pH level, as well as a freshen up deodorizing spray for the times you can’t quite manage bathing your pup!

More Woman-Owned Businesses

photo of Kerri from Deer Hazel standing at the entrance to her shop
One of my absolute favorite people owns one of my favorite shops, located in Friday Harbor, Washington. I love the selection of home goods, gifts, and clothing she curates from around the country! Please check out Deer Hazel!

Close-up photo of two red and black repurposed vinyl earrings.
Local Durham mama and friend of mine, Natalie from MeGotTheBeatDesigns, does an incredible job repurposing vinyl into jewelry! These earrings are the perfect gift for the retro, vinyl lover in your life who lives for nostalgia and has an excellent sense of style.

Photo of Matilda Jane dolls arranged in front of a Christmas tree.
Matilda Jane has some of the sweetest pieces for your home, gifts for kids, and clothes for yourself plus your kiddos (matching mama + daughter time, anyone!?)! My friend Jessica works with them and has her own site to shop through. And I adore every last piece!

Photo of a pair of heart earrings made with blue LEGO and silver metal.
Capturing a sophisticated perspective of the kid in all of us, JacQueline honors the iconic LEGO® brick with fine details of ethically sourced Diamonds & recycled precious metals. Y’all… fine jewelry made with LEGO bricks!! How do I pick just ONE favorite piece from her shop!? You MUST check out her incredible work.

Photo of a canvas bag screen printed with a hand drawn image of Ruth Bader Ginsberg across the side.
I have been a fan of elSage Designs for years! Inspired by a life spent adventuring outside, and local to the heart of Skagit Valley, WA, elSage is focused on fostering adventure and connection to community. Using a mix of block printing and screen printing techniques, Phoebe and Jonathan create unique apparel, accessories, and prints, bringing together activism, art, and a sense of place. Deeply rooted in both social and environmental responsibility, elSage donates 1% of annual gross earnings to organizations working tirelessly to save the environment. They spend additional donation dollars giving to social justice organizations fighting for equality.

Photo of a hand touching the wax of a lit lotion candle from Element Tree Essentials.
I discovered this amazing shop while strolling through Black Mountain, NC a few months ago. Element Tree Essentials is a small local business specializing in hand crafting a very unique candle: a soy lotion candle that doubles as a fragrant moisturizer! A luxurious addition to the home and body, Element Tree Essentials brings a variety of delicious fragrances to any space. Offering warm and inviting ambiance, these lotion candles infuse the skin as a warm moisturizer- a lavish gift to the skin. These distinctive candles are the perfect gift for any occasion.

Photo of a Three Year Garden Journal.
“The things we make (at The Far Woods) reflect our deepest desires about the world. We seek to contribute to a great Culture Shift in which there is a land ethic, a reverence for nature, a rejection of the dominant throw-away mentality, and direct connection to where our food and the things we use come from. Many of our artworks serve as educational tools and inspiration for deepening relationship to nature, food, and community. Our practice crosses disciplines, including teaching handcraft skills, beekeeping, and growing food, to work toward an ecologically-viable and socially-just future.”

Photo of a sweatshirt with the words "You Matter." written across the front next to a hand drawn flower.
My dear friend Laura is on a journey to adopting from Burundi. So she has created a shop full of beautiful items to help fundraise this family dream. 100% of the profits from these shirts will go towards the Duggleby Family adoption. Please check out The Advocate Hope Shop.

Close-up photo of hands holding a pink mug with a pink heart enamel ring on the ring finger.
Lisa Crowder Jewelry is another wonderfully talented maker, based in Austin, TX!

Photo of three handmade cork covered blank journals, in yellow, brown, and blue.
Janet Guertin is an incredibly talented local artisan of handmade journals, paper goods, and artist books. Check out these amazing cork journals!

Photo of handcrafted soap with pink and purple flower pieces sprinkled on top.
If you’re local to the Pittsboro, NC area, Solstice Herb Farms is the most creative soap maker I have ever known! You can get in touch with Stephanie at the Pittsboro Farmers’ Market or on Facebook!

Photo of Lindsey from Clockwork Songbird Cosplay and Jewelry wearing a necklace she made and sells in her Etsy shop.
Lindsey from Clockwork Songbird Cosplay and Jewelry is not only an incredibly talented maker, but a wonderful human, too! I highly recommend checking out her Etsy shop!

Gifts That Do Good

Three images of items for sale in the Human Rights Campaign online store. A United Against Hate rainbow heart sticker and hat and sweatshirt.
Have you thought about buying gifts from nonprofit organizations that are working hard to make this world a better place? The Human Rights Campaign envisions a world where every member of the LGBTQ family has the freedom to live their truth without fear, and with equality under the law. We empower our 3 million members and supporters to mobilize against attacks on the most marginalized people in our community.

Photo of three images from the Preemptive Love online shop that includes a Refugee-Made section with a woman holding handmade goods, an Apparel Section with a woman modeling a white shirt, and a Home section with a black banner hanging sideways in a white room with the words Love Anyway printed on it.
Preemptive Love stretches across Iraq, Syria, Latin America, the United States, and beyond, working together to unmake violence and create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. They respond fast with relief on the frontlines of conflict: food to help families survive, shelter to remake home, and medicine to mend the wounds of war. They create jobs—providing capital for vulnerable families to start businesses, coaching to help their businesses thrive, and connection to global marketplace. And they reach across enemy lines and creating the most diverse community of peacemakers on the planet, to stop the next war before it starts.

Indie Bookstores

The logo for Flyleaf Books.
Flyleaf Books based in Chapel Hill, NC, now offers curbside pickup and shipping options!

A photo of Books are Magic in Brooklyn.
Books are Magic is a wonderful indie shop in Brooklyn that I recently ordered from!

The Qual Ridge Books logo.
Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh is not only a kick ass indie bookstore, but pre-pandemic they also hosted some of the most amazing author events. I mean, I got to see Sally Mann do a speaking event and then meet her afterwards!

A photo of the front of McIntyre's Books in Pittsboro North Carolina in the evening and lit up looking through the shop window.
McIntyre’s Books is located just up the road from me in Pittsboro, NC (Fearrington Village). I so very enjoy not only their thoughtfully curated book selection, but also their incredibly inviting atmosphere and friendly staff.

Photo of the covers of 6 books: The Vanishing Half, Dare to Lead, How to Be An Antiracist, White Fragility, Untamed, and The Source of Self-Regard.
Here is a beautifully curated set of books from a local female-owned business in Raleigh, The Flourish Market. 2020 was literally one for the books. When catching up on the newest reads, always support independent retailers and bookstores!

What other suggestions would you add to this list that falls in line with one of the above categories? I’d love to hear you suggestions and possibly update the list as time goes on!

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