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It’s 6 weeks until Christmas, who’s excited?!  Each year I promise myself that I’ll plan gift-buying early to avoid the headache of last-minute scrambling.  So let’s do some stress-free shopping!

If you’re like me, shopping malls with their loud music, pushy advertising and crowds hold no appeal.  I’ve long been a fan of artisan marketplaces like Etsy, an online global marketplace of handmade goods and vintage finds that celebrate creativity and craftsmanship.  When buying from Etsy, you’re supporting artisans and entrepreneurs, not big box stores that may use unethical practices like sweatshops and toxic materials.  You can even choose to shop locally or shop from sellers who support your favourite charities.

Here is my collection of favourite finds from Etsy that I think would make wonderful holiday gifts.  Eco-minded, socially-conscious, vegan-friendly and affordable too!

Clutch wallet/cell phone case by CottonPurr from Georgia, $98 USD.  It’s not too hard to find a vegan wallet these days but it’s certainly a challenge to find a beautiful vegan wallet.  There are dozens of fabrics to choose from at CottonPurr and JoJo will make to order, or if you’re in a hurry, shop from the pre-made, read-to-ship category.  Turn your clutch into a purse by adding on a shoulder or wrist strap.  So pretty!

Cupcake soaps by AJSweetSoap from New York, $21.75 USD.  I could hardly believe my eyes that these little treats are actually bars of soap.  How cute would these look in a powder room?  Many items (but not all) are vegan, like these cupcakes.  Peruse the shop and you’ll find the most creative, realistic creations!

Animal and earth-friendly jewelry by Christy Robinson of Texas, approximately $25 USD each. Choose a bold statement necklace like the I Am Not a Coat fox pendant or be more discreet with the “secret message” necklace that lifts up to reveal “Go Veg”.  Most pieces are from recycled aluminum, an eco-minded bonus.  To request a custom piece with your own message, contact Christy via her website.

Vegan Organic Caramels by Feed your Face from New York, $22 USD.  What would any of my most favourite lists be without something that was food?!  I haven’t tried these but they look amazing.  The gourmet organic caramel sample pack has one of each of the 20 flavours including Lemongrass Coconut, Carrot Cake and Mulled Apple Cider.  From the creator:  “All of my caramels are dairy-free, gluten-free, corn syrup-free, virtually soy-free, free of most common allergens, and 100% vegan. Don’t worry, they don’t taste healthy in the slightest. They’re creamy and chewy and decadent, and many many nonvegans have loved these caramels and couldn’t tell the difference from the traditional version. I use organic and fair-trade ingredients wherever possible.”  Hello, stocking-stuffers.

Cruelty-Free Kitchen embroidered towel by Fabulously Fierce from Los Angeles, $14 USD.  Affordable, useful and adorable!  The only pig in my kitchen would be the one happily prancing on this towel.  Other fun designs are in the shop.  The artist is vegan and is the blogger behind Fellowship of the Vegetable.

Personalized digital photo art by Picture it Personal from New York, approximately $25-35 USD. Photos can be bought as matted prints and snail-mailed or digital files and emailed.  As someone who loves gifts that aren’t “stuff”, I bought the “Summer Love” family tree (top photo) as a digital file for my husband for Father’s Day with our names and our kids’ names and surprised him by making the lock screen of his iPad; it has also been my facebook cover photo and I love it.  It’s high enough quality that we can print it large for framing if we want to. The artist created my piece very quickly and emailed it to me within a few days, great service!  These photos would make great wedding or anniversary gifts too.

World Peace kid’s organic cotton tee by RC Tees of Decatur, $20 USD.  Look closely, the image is created with country names.  From the artist: “Wear the message….From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and countries in between, our wish for the World is PEACE…. We will be making a donation for every Adopt tee sold the month of November to help with the misplaced animals affected during Sandy. Donations will be made to North Shore Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization.”  There are also great designs for adults too; how about a Real Men Love Cats shirt?!

Personalized necklace by Rawkette of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, approximately $40 CAD. I have bought two necklaces from Jessica of Rawkette and both were created quickly and turned out perfect; one for my mother with the names of her four grandchildren, and one for my sister with the names of her kids and their birthstones.  Many other great items are in her shop like pet tags and key chains.  I also love supporting a local artist!

Non-slip soft soled vegan baby and kids slippers by Little Pitterpat from Montana, $27-32 USD. From the artist: “Little Pitterpat offers the only handmade durable non-slip soft shoes made for crawlers and early walkers. These little shoes are created by hand, socially responsible, vegan, and available in a wide variety of prints that suite everyone’s taste and budget.”  I love these alternatives to leather slippers that are non-slip as well as stylish: tons of adorable prints to choose from.  I would have loved to have them when my kids were tiny.  What a great baby gift!  Note: the shop is currently on vacation, re-opening November 25th.  If you’re in Canada like me, order the last week of November as December 1st is the last day to order and be assured of delivery in time for December 24th.

Tofu Kitty by Crinoline Shop from Pennsylvania, $14 USD.  Oh, I can hardly stand the cuteness overload– it’s a kitty AND a block of tofu!  The fabric is eco-felt, made from recycled plastic bottles and embellished with soy paint.  Many other quirky craftiness to be found in her shop. The artist is vegan herself and a member of Vegan Etsy; check out more from the Vegan Etsy team here.

Deer, original watercolour painting by Little Nap Art of Southern Ontario, Canada, $100 CAD.   I’ve seen this artist’s paintings in person and they are quite stunning.  From the artist: “Layered strokes and bright, neat patterns make up unique and memorable works of art.  I paint every piece with animal rights in mind and I donate a percent of every piece sold to the “KW Humane Society”.  Be kind to each other and do everything in love.”  Sounds good to me!  Limited edition wearable art can also be found in Little Nap’s shop, check it out.

Personalized Cat Ornaments by Panda with Cookie from Oregon, $10-15 USD each. The artist will create custom felt ornaments to look just like your cat; what a great gift for any kitty guardian, and quite inexpensive for a custom piece.  The artist is a member of Etsy Veg, the team of vegetarian and vegan sellers; check out more from the team here.  I also think Panda With Cookie could win the award for most awesome Etsy shop name, don’t you?

Vegan Superstar copper and brass unisex pendant by Art by Susmitha from India, $37 USD (free shipping). From the artist: “In the spirit of my veganism and love for animals I create my miniature critters. Every little sculpture is designed to remind me that each and every being has thoughts, feelings and a personality of its own. We’re all children of the same Universe, to be loved and respected equally.  A minimum of 10% of my sales go to animal charities each month”.  Sounds great to me!

Note:  The artists have given me permission to share their photographs.  All items featured are vegan-friendly but not all shops featured are 100% vegan.  All opinions are my own.  Not all sellers ship to every country; contact seller with any questions.  I haven’t bought from all artists myself, but all of them were super communicators, responding to my queries in less than a day, and most within an hour.

Let the retail therapy begin!

What are your favourite shops and items on Etsy?