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Small businesses — defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration as having 500 or fewer employees — are the backbone of the U.S. economy, yet many are facing more challenges than ever. Even though nearly a million small businesses opened up between March 2020 and March 2021, an estimated 17 percent of all business owners are either closing up shop or unsure whether they’ll be able to keep their doors open in 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
One way you can put a smile on your loved one’s face and make a positive impact at the same time this holiday season is by buying your gifts at small businesses. Small Business Saturday is the perfect day to do that, falling on Nov. 26 this year — the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Here are some of the best, most unique gift ideas from small businesses.
Best gifts for foodies
- Masienda Tortilla Starter Kit: This kit enables any taco and burrito lover to start making their own tortillas from scratch using heirloom masa from traditional farmers in Oaxaca, Mexico.
- Mushroom Growing Kit: SnoValley Mushrooms are a perennial favorite at Seattle-area farmer’s markets, but you don’t need to live there to enjoy them. You can send a shiitake or oyster mushroom-growing kit straight from the misty rainforests to your favorite home chef anywhere in the country.
Best gifts for techies
- Petcube: Ever wonder what your pet’s up to when you’re away? Now you can find out with these unique webcams that allow you to talk to your pet, and even interact with them via laser toys and treat dispensers.
- Ember Mug: For the coffee or tea lover in your life, consider the Ember Mug: a stylish mug that keeps your beverage of choice at a constant temp from 120 – 145 F for 80 – 90 minutes per charge.
Best gifts for outdoor adventurers
- Nemo Stargaze Recliner: Hammocks are nice, but the avid outdoors person in your life will really appreciate resting fireside at the end of the day in this packable chair that you can use as a rocker and a recliner for maximum comfort and stargazing ability.
- Gear Aid Repair Patches: Help your loved one stay warm and dry while they’re out and about with these durable, fun — and affordable — patches that instantly repair any holes or tears in their gear.
- Kula Cloth and SheFly GoThere Pants: It’s rough being a woman in the outdoors, especially when it comes time to answer nature’s call. These two products — designed for women, by women — feature adorable, easy-to-use (and keep clean) cloths and hiking pants with anatomically-correct zippers for a proper backcountry experience.
Best gifts for book and game nerds
- Bookshop.org gift certificate: This innovative B-corporation offers as many books as larger retailers, but they allow you to send profits from your sale directly to a local indie bookstore or to a profit-sharing pool that benefits 1,600+ indie bookstores.
- Exploding Kittens: Billing itself as “a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats,” this easy-to-play game from the creator of The Oatmeal is the perfect gift for someone who’s just the right kind of weird.
- Coyote & Crow: If you’re tired of the same old roleplaying games, you’ll appreciate this d12-based gameplay created by an all-Indigenous team and set in a world without colonization.
Best gifts for home and garden lovers
- Netvue Birdfy Feeder Cam: Flipping through a bird book is fun, but this AI-powered birdfeeder cam snaps a photo and identifies the species of bird, and then sends it directly to your phone.
- Bearaby Knit Weighted Blanket: These weighted blankets feature a unique knitted construction that’s warm, stylish, and most importantly — incredibly calming and comforting.
Best gifts for travel aficionados
- Trtl Travel Pillow: This unique travel “pillow” really looks more like a scarf—but it’s a consistent pick among travel gadget fans for its total support and comfort while sitting in an upright position (or at least as much as can be had, anyway).
- Benjilock Fingerprint Travel Padlock: This TSA-compliant padlock featured on Shark Tank unlocks using either your fingerprint or a passcode, and lasts up to a year on a single charge.
Best gifts for health and fitness buffs
- Manta Sleep Mask: Help your loved ones get a good night’s sleep with this total blackout, customizable and zero-pressure sleep mask that has rave reviews.
- Atmotube PRO Portable Air Meter: Air quality isn’t something we all think about every day, but it’s important to many people—especially those with respiratory conditions. This wearable device lets you know exactly how safe the air is, whether you’re hoping to avoid the worst of ever-increasing wildfire smoke or testing the indoors for mold.
Best gifts for fashion and beauty connoisseurs
- Nailboo Dip Kit: Manicures are expensive, but the beauty buff in your life can get the same results at home for much less with this powder-based nail dip manicure kit that anyone can use.
- Kitsch Sleep Beanie: This soft, satin sleep beanie helps protect your hair from breakage while you toss and turn at night — which may be more common than you think. It’ll help you wake up with an easier-to-refresh hairstyle while reducing frizz and flyaways.
Best gifts for office workers
- Rocketbook: The note-taker, organizer, and planner in your life will love a reusable notebook or scratch pad from Rocketbook. When you use Frixion gel ink pens you can easily wet, wipe, and erase for unlimited writing power, and easily scan pages to save your notes for later.
- Speks: Imagine if a fidget toy and a bunch of Legos were combined. This oddly satisfying magnetic desk toy can keep a desk job worker occupied for hours while they’re listening in on Zoom calls.
Best gifts for pet parents
- FurHaven Burrow Pet Bed: These pet beds shaped to be like restful burrows and hideaways will be sure to please your lounge-loving pet — you just might wish for a human-sized one too.
- Catio Plans: Keep both your kitty and local wildlife safe and happy at the same time with DIY catio plans by Cynthia Chomos, the Catio Queen. You can hire a contractor to build them, but they’re also written with step-by-step instructions for the average person using materials and lumber from your local hardware store.
Best gifts for kids
- All Of Us Crayons: This innovative set of crayons lets children draw people with their true range of skin colors — something that you can’t do with the traditional one-size-fits-all crayon box.
- RebelGirls Books: Help children — no matter their gender — learn that girls are powerful changemakers with exciting real-life stories of women who are changing and shaping our history today.
- Science Junior subscription: This subscription service delivers a new hands-on science activity for your child each month. These kits come with puzzles, reading activities, crafts, board games, stickers, trading cards, and more.
Get rewarded for shopping small
By supporting small businesses this holiday season, can brighten three people’s days at once: yourself, the small business owner and the person to whom you’re giving the gift.
Some people tend to avoid smaller merchants because it can be cheaper to buy from big-box stores, but there are many ways to save and earn rewards on small-business spending. The key? Use the right credit card — one that rewards relevant categories at a boosted rate, and maybe even one that’s offering a welcome bonus to new cardholders.