You may see the "I took the Handmade pledge" button on my side bar, and wonder what I mean by it. Well, for me, it means that I will be purchasing all hand made gifts for people for the Holidays this year. So many years I have felt embarrassed giving people things that I am sure they recognized from the shelves of ___ Mart,and knowing that they probably won't really enjoy it, because it is not unique, not quality, and not really useful. In addition, it is sad to celebrate a family holiday with a gift that was likely made by a child or a poorly paid, hungry worker in a third world country.
In the past I felt like there were few options for me to give handmade gifts, because I thought I could not afford them. But now, in addition to local Christmas bazaars and markets, I have the etsy.com web site, where there are thousands upon thousands of shops that are searchable, and most things are very affordable. They also have vintage and materials sections if you like to make things yourself. You can get things handmade from sellers in the same town, or anywhere in the world! It is so cool, and I swear they are not paying me to say this!