You're welcome. I browse a lot of Etsy shops, make a lot of bookmarks, and read a lot of Southern Living. And I don't believe in going broke to celebrate occasions that are about giving. Without further ado, here are some really great finds, all less than $50, and most less than $20. I know I would be tickled to receive any item on this list, and we all know what good taste I have, right? Oh, and as always, I don't have any financial affiliation with any of these sellers; this is just stuff I like.
-The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, $35. Won the James Beard Cookbook of the Year Award.
-Speaking of the Lee Bros., try their Fresh Boiled Peanuts, $25.50 for 5 lbs. Ask Styro.
-Betsy's Cheese Straws, $4-23.00 Oh, so good.
-Jackson Biscuit Company's Southern Style Beaten Biscuits, $2.50 per dozen. A real treat.
-Lava Bar, $1.99 per half-dozen. The closest you can get to mainlining chocolate.
-Straight outta N'awlins, Aunt Sally's Pralines, $11.49 These were my dad's idea of heaven on earth.
-A hometown favorite, Cavender's Greek Seasoning, $15 per 6-pack. Arkansans use this stuff on everything. When I met Alex, this was the main weapon in his cooking arsenal, and it's a good one.
-BaconSalt, $4.49. My favorite is the Peppered variety, and my favorite use so far is with baked potatoes and pasta.
-And finally, if you want to make a displaced Southerner weep with nostalgia and joy, then spend $4 and treat them to an RC Cola and a Moon Pie. I'm a little teary-eyed just typing that.
-Browse Yelena's whole store, starting with this Butter Jade necklace, $39. She's running a great holiday sale right now.
-Sterling silver bass-clef-inspired earrings, $14, which I love because they're pierced, but have no clasp or backing. Simple.
-Gorgeous, sweet little orange sterling-silver/polymer earrings, $17.90. Darling.
-Dragonfly "Earwings," $29. I love bug jewelry, and bonus points for the clever name.
-Cobalt Corian ring, $20. Yep, that stuff your countertops are made of. Way cute.
-"Stations," fine art print by Andrea Pratt, $40. I LOVE THIS PAINTING. Heck, I own the original. Andrea has printed some of her other work recently, so shop around her store a little.
-Chunky Landscape Prints by Mandy Budan, $40. This artist has really found a style that works for her, and despite not being a big landscape fan, I can't help but like these extremely interesting paintings she does.
-Photography by Schmutzie, from $15. She's gifted, has soul, and besides, she's a striking writer. And also, a writer who is currently on strike. Photos with depth, texture, and emotion.
-Inspirational items from Jen Lemen, $7-15. A really great way to uplift a sister.
-Retro-flavored prints, from $10, in splashy, delicious colors, many featuring long and lanky black cats or snooty poodles. These would be great for any deco or Eames fans, and they're just fun and funky.
-When I tell you that Heber Springs, Arkansas-based Aromatique is the best home fragrance purveyor in all the world, you need to just believe me. And their Cinnamon Cider line from $9-20, is the favorite of just about everyone I know, especially at this time of year. Just DELICIOUS.
-Japanese Pickle Press, $24.99. You don't even care what it does. You just like saying "Why, it's a Japanese pickle press," authoritatively, when you give it.
-CUTEST EVER roundish cranberry coffee mug, with four precious little round "feet," $15. The "feet" not only make this mug unique and adorable, they also serve to protect surfaces from condensation, so you don't need a coaster. Man, this thing is cute.
-More suitable to cafe au lait, nice wide-mouthed The Perfect Mug, $10, is just begging to be cradled in both hands.
-"Color Sample" Tableware, $4-7. I want just about every piece of this.
-Bella wants to use chopsticks BADLY, but just doesn't have the manual dexterity yet, so I can't wait to give her these Clothespin Chopsticks, $3.99.
-Hand-thrown Galaxy Bowl, $18. Just gorgeous, and I can't believe the price.
-The Elf On The Shelf, $29.95. Just check it out.
-Give someone Herpes (or mono, a cold, even mad cow), $7.99
-Catnip Banana, $4. Hilarious cat/banana interaction potential.
-Handmade wooden Gumball/Candy Dispenser, $15. I'm thinking this looks like a good option for Bella's teacher, who keeps big bowls of Skittles and M&Ms on her desk.
-Funky, cute retro-flavored aprons from Boojiboo, $15-22. These make me want to throw a non-alcoholic cocktail party. What? I don't know.
-Tiny Superhero Robot, $10. Just what it sounds like. A tiny, superhero robot.
-Cherry Wood Baby Rattle, $18.95. Perfect fin the current Toxic Toy Aftermath.
-From Lucky Threadz Tees, Grammar Crackers, $14. These is good.
-I want every single one of my dogs to have one of these knitted Holly Dog Collars, $12. This design is brilliant, and incorporates the holly branch, leaves, and berries. SO cute.
-Alex really wants one of these Ninja Remotes from ThinkGeek, $8.99, which allow you to commandeer just about any TV set. No more "Oprah" in the doctor's waiting room!
-If you know someone who's into flickr, then they might have MOO cards. And if they have MOO cards, then they want one of these clip-on MOOPockets, $15. Splatgirl has a stunning variety of fabrics.
-And while you're in Splatgirl's shop, you need to shop for your dog some more, and get him/her/them some of these fabulous, funky, colorful collars, $15. She also makes custom leashes to match.
-Dog Breed Puzzimals, $10, speaking of dogs.
-Finally, to Alex's utter delight, you, too, can give a loved one that gift, in a box, immortalized by Justin Timberlake. You know what I'm talking about. $25 buys you much hilarity, as well as increased cancer awareness and a donation to a cancer charity.
Oh, and stock up on Secret Agent Josephine's Gift Tags to keep your gifts sorted out, $2 per dozen, and super-cute.