A Cure for the Black Friday Blues
It’s nearly upon us: Black Friday. A day that only Americans could devise.
We venture out in droves. Pushing, shoving, and trampling over one another to load up on sales merchandise. Exactly one day after giving thanks for having so much.
Personally, I don’t do Black Friday. I can’t imagine why anyone does, especially since we can buy anything, anywhere online. From the comfort of home. In our Bazinga! slippers.
And they ship the stuff right to us… at home, in our Bazinga! slippers.
But it’s a big, tangled world wide web out there. So where on earth-dot-com do you start?
Relax! You’re in the right place. We’ve got you covered.
Where to Shop on Cyber Monday
To help you out, I surveyed everyone at SmartDraw and compiled a list of our Top 20 favorite online holiday shopping sites. These are off-the-beaten path places, so no Amazon or eBay or Harry & David here. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, they’re excellent places to shop… we just want to give you something a little different.
By the way, SmartDraw (and that includes all of us who work here) isn’t receiving compensation of any kind from any of these shops. We’re just providing the links for your enjoyment.
We’ll start not too far off the beaten path. This site was the one most frequently mentioned by SmartDrawers. We love the handmade and vintage items you’ll find here. From clothes to jewelry to a wall hanging of your favorite song lyric made of recycled license plates. www.etsy.com
2. Just Give
Just Give is a nonprofit that lets you search and select from about 1.8 million charities. You can search by name, category or location—a nice option for supporting local causes. They also make it easy to give giving… you make the donation; the recipient of your gift chooses the charity. www.justgive.org
Unique, hand-made art, jewelry, clothing, and décor. We like buying a one-of-a-kind item directly from the artisan. These are interesting items that won’t break the bank. We also love their mission statement: “Spread Happiness.” www.novica.com
4. Diane Krön Chocolatier
Do you know someone who loves chocolate? I have just seven words: Dark chocolate balls filled with Scots whiskey (or vodka or tequila, if you prefer). Oh, my. You haven’t lived until you’ve bitten into one of these little pieces of heaven. www.dianekronchocolates.com
5. Goldie Blox
Of course, she’s a princess. But she’s also a girl with a brain. Help her tap into her awesomeness. Goldie Blox aims to “disrupt the pink aisle,” making toys that help girls develop math and science skills, but with girlish flair. www.goldieblox.com
6. Vintage Nostalgia
For that hipster doofus on your list. Or someone who just digs groovy stuff from yesteryear. Everything cool, kitschy and glitchy all in one location. But you’ll need to order early since your items are shipping from Australia—unless you’re already Down Under, mate. www.vintagenostalgia.com.au/
This is one of Miss E’s favorites. She’s gotten everything from knives to unique notebooks to fun accessories for her sweet little Pearl. They offer a lot of design-oriented goods, and sell them at 30-70% off retail. It’s one of those “flash sale” types of websites. We dig it. http://fab.com/
Coffee supplier and great marketplace for coffee gear. This is truly coffee of, by and for the people. Fresh beans delivered to your door every two weeks for 19 bucks. Trust us; for the coffee lover on your list, this stuff is very important. https://tonx.org
9. The Grommet
This place is awesome. They launch undiscovered products (“Grommets”) and help them succeed. What is a Grommet, you ask? Grommets aren’t just things. They’re products with a purpose invented by people with stories. You need to see this. www.thegrommet.com
10. Tom Bihn
The Josh P. family buys all their bags from here. We’re talking travel bags, laptop bags, backpacks. Stuff he, she, or they will really use. These things are seriously over-engineered, last forever, and are kid-vomit proof. ‘Nuff said. http://www.tombihn.com
11. Records by Mail
Q: Where can you find more than 2 million vinyl records in a single 8,000-square-foot warehouse? A: In the 503 (Portland, Oregon) is where. Craig Moerer and his staff ship rare (and not-so-rare) records to customers in over 70 countries, daddy-o. http://www.recordsbymail.com/home.php
He wants to look good. You want him to look good. So get him some Harry’s. It’s a win-win deal. Cheap blades, but still classy-looking and they kick the Schick out of those big brands that advertise during the football games. http://www.harrys.com
13. Think Geek
You thought I was holding out on you with my tease about my Bazinga! slippers, right? What, do you think I’m crazy? I’m not crazy. My mother had me tested. But seriously, for the geeks on your list who just can’t get enough Big Bang and sci-fi, you need to get over to www.thinkgeek.com at warp speed.
14. Hard Graft
My man Josh says, “I purchased my wallet, key organizer, iPhone case, and iPad case from here. Love the design details, craftsmanship and materials.” You know what I love? Their site is so clean you can almost smell the leather. Mmmm! http://www.hardgraft.com
15. Mr. Davis
I’m not an undershirt guy. Or, I should say I wasn’t an undershirt guy. That was before a friend introduced me to Mr. Davis. You won’t even know you’re wearing one of these bad boys. I’m sorry Michael Jordan, but your brand just won’t cut it any longer. http://mrdavis.com/
16. Cotton Bureau
Check out these sweet designs. Or submit your own—if it goes to press, you get paid. But Cotton Bureau does all the dirty work. Nice! I don’t wear t-shirts often, but when I do they come from Cotton Bureau. https://cottonbureau.com
My dilemma: I have girly people on my list. I don’t know how to buy girly things. Thank heaven for Birchbox. I sign up for a subscription, answer a few simple questions, and they send my special lady a custom sample set every month. Oh, and they have men’s stuff, too. https://www.birchbox.com/
18. Perpetual Kid
This site is chock full of stuff you want, you just don’t know you want it yet. But log on and you’ll know you want “muffin top” muffin molds. Or a giant doughnut pool float. Because, really… who doesn’t want a giant doughnut pool float? www.perpetualkid.com
19. Ursa Major
Here’s the thing about guys. We like to be clean and healthy, but most of those big corporate outfits put toxins in their soap. Quit it! We want simple, natural stuff that gets us clean. Ursa Major gets that. It’s made in the US, natural, and works most excellently. http://www.ursamajormen.com
20. Eco Toys
While we’re on the topic of safe and non-toxic, let’s talk toys. Do you really know what that thing imported from China is made of? Are you willing to risk your child’s heath on it? Go Down Under and check out toys made from safe, natural, sustainable materials. http://www.ecotoys.com.au/store/
Be Safe When You Shop Online this Cyber Monday
Shopping online is perfectly safe, but you need to be smart and be careful about it. If something seems too good to be true… well, you know the rest. Here are some tips to remember this Cyber Monday.
Happy shopping! Oh, and don’t forget to consider us, too (warning: shameless self-promotion!)—SmartDraw makes an excellent gift.
Please share your thoughts and any of your favorite online sites with us in the comments section below.