It's that dreaded time of year again. The console wars are raging, car commercials are at an all-time high, and innumerable deals and savings are offered by companies in an attempt to lure you to their store. The holiday season, much maligned for its over-commercialism and excessive consumerism, can easily leave the average shopper's head spinning. With so many choices buried in a never ending deluge of advertising, where is the reasonable shopper to turn if they still want to give a meaningful, heartfelt gift this winter season?
However, there is a glimmer of hope. Those of us lucky enough to live in the Pioneer Valley know the unique shops and stores around here have a different, more personal feel to them. The unique cultural environment in this area allows for some non-traditional retail outlets, and in this holiday guide, I have showcased a few favorites. With an affordable price tag, these creative gifts may be more meaningful than the typical Toys "R" Us fare. So without further ado, behold, my top 5 Holiday Gift Ideas for Under $20.
5. Handmade Ecuadoran Pocketbags (Casa Del Sol) -$15
Coming in a variety of colors and designs, these mid-size bags are the perfect intermediate between the wristlet and the purse. Storing personal items in the winter cold is easier and more stylish with these bags. Not to mention they are 100% fair trade, these bags are sure to delight anyone this winter season.
4. Scented Candles (Inspirit Crystals) - $6
Want to be more creative? Seeking relaxation in a stressful environment? Look no further than these assorted scented candles from Inspirit Crystals. With a mixture of well-known scents (strawberry, lavender, vanilla) as well as some you have to personally behold, these aromas are certainly the fix for a wintry writer's block.
3. Handmade Monster Hats (Happy Valley) - $15
What self-respecting elementary schoolkid wouldn't love to rock one of these? Found in a range of colors, with google-eyes and pointy fangs, these whimsical monsters are a great gift for any child. Warm and fun, these hats are a perfect solution to that renegade child who refuses to don a hat-no matter how cold it is.
2. Assorted Birthstones (Inspirit Crystals) $10
Gifts with meaning line the shelves of Inspirit Crystals, and these spiritual gifts have more personal relevance than most. Find someone's birthstone, or select from a variety of assorted stones (like Amethyst, to promote rapid healing) and see if you can't inspire someone with these heartfelt gifts.
1. Felt Monsters (Art Alive) $20
They may be more terrified than terrifying. At Art Alive in Amherst, monster lovers young and old can purchase the these cute buck tooth, bug-eyed, felt minions. They're available in all types of sizes, colors, and patterns.