Above: Luz Reyes, the owner of Bella Headbands, synthesizes headbands to be sold later as holiday gift options. (Photo by Henry Taksier)
Supporting local businesses is a small way you can make a big impact on our local economy. So this holiday season, skip the generic gifts from corporate monstrosities and consider what’s made right here in Gainesville.
Check out these unique, crafty items to inspire your holiday shopping. Just now seeing this and the holidays have already come and gone? These guys aren’t going anywhere. You can check them out anytime during the year for gifts, or just to spice up your own life.
This locally owned chocolatier offers a large selection of chocolates that are made with responsibly sourced, high-quality chocolate as well as organic butter, cream and nuts.
“The Ocho” would make a great holiday gift. There are four varieties in this box of hand-crafted delectable treats, including chocolate-dipped caramels sprinkled with Maldon smoked salt.
Armadillo Chocolates are available at Volta Coffee, Tea and Chocolate, The Jones Eastside, Alcove Bar and Citizen’s Co-op. A limited selection is also available online for Florida residents.
Lucky Elephant Designs
When Ana Haydeé Linares, 22, graduated from the University of Florida’s School of Art and Art History, she decided to open Lucky Elephant Designs and pursue her passion for making jewelry. From her travels around the world, Ana found that many cultures, including her own Cuban culture, had adopted the elephant as a symbol of prosperity and good luck.
Lucky Elephant Designs creates one-of-a-kind necklaces and earrings out of locally sourced, vintage and new components. The necklaces cost between $15 and $30. In addition to her re-purposed jewelry designs, Ana also sells a collection of Tarot card designs, handmade rosaries and international good luck charms, which are all featured and available for purchase at www.luckyelephantdesigns.com.
Dragonfly Graphics, established in 1976, is a full-service screen printing business. The company gives back to the community through discounted school rates and donations to Camp Crystal Lake, a local outdoor education facility and recreational summer camp owned by the School Board of Alachua County.
The company will soon be launching a line of graphic T-shirts with vintage logos of area businesses, available atdragonflygraphics.com/spirit326. On Dec. 23, Dragonfly is hosting the Loco Bizarre where customers can watch live screen printing. Dragonfly Graphics is located at 319 SW Third Ave.
Haskell and Melanie Martin founded Moksa Organics, Inc. on a simple idea: to provide people with bath products made from organic, chemical-free ingredients and responsible packaging.
Moksa has gained national attention for its soaps, bath salts, body oil and body butter. This locally based company has been featured in several publications including Country Living and TreeHugger. Their products are available for purchase online at moksaorganics.com as well as the Citizen’s Co-op on Main Street.
Luz Reyes, the owner of Bella Headbands (pictured above), makes each handcrafted creation herself.
Since each headband is made-to-order, customers are able to decide which colors they’d like.
Headbands start at $7. For a few extra dollars, she will add additional accessories, such as bows, decorative gators and faux flowers. You can place an order on www.facebook.com/bellaheadbands or by calling Luz at 352-792-7193.
Sometimes the best gifts are experiences, not things, whether it’s a pair of tickets to a performance at the Hippodrome State Theater or dinner at a favorite restaurant.
If you are feeling particularly crafty, there are many places in Gainesville that will help you channel your creativity.
At Do Art, you can paint your own pottery and make mosaics. Once you pick your “raw” piece of pottery, you choose your paint colors and stencils. When you’re finished, your piece gets fired in the kiln. You can also create a mosaic including items such as mirrors and picture frames.
Bead All About It and Gifts of Avalon are two bead shops in town to check out if you want to make your own jewelry.
For Other Great Ideas
Be sure to check out local vendors on Etsy.com. Just type “Gainesville, FL” in the search bar.
Many vendors also offer affordable items at a monthly craft market at The Doris, located at 716 N. Main St. For more information, visit the Facebook event page “Monthly Craft Market” or email Zoma, the market creator and director, at email@example.com.
Also, be sure to check out the “Buy Locally, Gainesville!” Facebook page. This page is used to post news and specials from many local business owners.