Shop local for holiday gifts

We’ve been hearing a lot about buying American, eating local, shopping local and the Maker Movement. Each of these initiatives has its own objectives, but for me, it all boils down to the same principle — paying attention to where we spend our dollars and making sure some of those dollars support local ventures whether that is a brand made in the USA or your neighbors’ handmade goods.

For many small businesses, the holiday season is make it or break it time, so while you’re shopping for gifts, don’t forget to check out the independently owned shops, holiday craft fairs and pop-ups for local and handmade goods. Here are a few of my favorite locally made gifts this year:

Ali Howell’s statement-making Ali & Bird jewelry is now sold in more than 90 stores in the U.S. and the Caribbean. The pieces make great gifts for the girl who has everything, since each is unique and always gets noticed. Birdy bracelets retail for $24 (no disc) and $40 (with disc) at Collage Boutique at 705 Town Blvd., Atlanta (404-736-6424); and 1311 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta (770-321-5777).


Atlanta’s culinary scene grows richer each year. You can support the movement by gifting cookbooks from local pros. Radhika Behl grew up in England, but her cooking blends the traditions of East and West. With “Simply Radhika” (BookLogix, $57.95), even beginners can learn how to bring authentic Indian flavors to American kitchens. Another local, chef Jennifer Hill Booker, offers a contemporary take on Southern cooking in “Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes With a French Accent” (Pelican, $27). Recipes range from Buttermilk Biscuits to Fig Stuffed Chicken Livers. Catch Booker from noon-4 p.m. Dec. 27 at Williams-Sonoma, the Forum, 5145 Peachtree Parkway, Norcross, and get a signed copy.

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I have a big almond butter fan in my house, but finding a brand that meets my standards hasn’t been easy. NaturAlmond uses non-GMO almonds from California to make its premium flavored almond butters ($11.50) in small, slow-roasted batches that ensure flavor. You can also try its Georgia Grinders Peanut Butter ($7). Get them both at Kroger, Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market and other stores.

Also consider the Georgia Grown gift box from Rumson Gifts. The box features Beautiful Briny Sea Salt in Friends Forever, Braswell’s Peach & Apricot Preserves, Phickles Pickles from Athens and Chef’s Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Georgia Olive Farms in Lakeland, Ga. It costs $50 at


Margaret Councilman designs and produces handcrafted leather handbags, boho chic leather jewelry, and hippie headbands in her Atlanta studio under the brand Margaret Vera. Atlanta Journal-Constitution readers can get 25 percent off at with the code AJCHOLIDAY through Dec. 31. The Large Distressed Leather Tote is one of her newest items and it costs $210.


Whenever I need gift ideas, I spend some time strolling the aisles of the Beehive Atlanta, 1250 Caroline St. This handmade boutique collective offers jewelry, paper goods, apparel, housewares and much more. You can also shop online at Shipping is $4.99 every day or free with a purchase of $75 or more.

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