Support Local in New York: The Ultimate Gift Guide

November 18, 2020

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A few weeks ago, my husband and I had a “parents’ day out” with some friends. We went on a Finger Lakes wine tour here in upstate New York. Yes, we got to have fun drinking wine without our respective children, but what made the biggest impression on me that weekend was how challenging this time has been for our local businesses. We all need to shop local in New York! They’re having to jump through extra hoops with their hands tied behind their backs. Honestly, it made me so sad that I can’t do much more to support them.

Even if you are NOT in New York, I hope you are making an effort to try and shop local. I would have loved to include businesses from all over the US (and international!) in the blog! I will definitely be sharing them on Instagram too so make sure to follow me there too! Send me a DM and tell me your favorite small business to support!

Shopping Small and Shopping Local is so Important! I will definitely be making an effort to support local in New York this year.

You might be feeling this way too. You might be asking yourself:

  • How can I support small local businesses in New York (or wherever you live)?
  • Where can I buy gifts to support small businesses?
  • How do I support local businesses in my community on Small Business Saturday?

So I reached out to my community about how I can support them. I decided to write this blog post giving you all the ideas about where to shop this holiday season to support your local small businesses.

This list isn’t exhaustive but I hope it gives you a good place to start. I also want to hear more suggestions from you of businesses I can add so I can continue to update this list and share on social media. As a small business myself, nothing makes me happier than supporting other small business owners. And this is an incredibly important time of year for them!

 In today’s blog post, I’m giving you a list of suggestions of places and businesses to visit first before hitting “buy now” on all those Amazon purchases. 

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commission if you purchase through this link. However, I promise to only share tools and products I truly love and would use for myself or recommend to my clients. Happy shopping!


For the Thanksgiving Host & Hostess

One of my favorite florists in New York City is offering floral pick-up for arrangements for either your Thanksgiving table or to give as a hostess gift. Her arrangements (see below) are GORGEOUS and if I lived closer, I would totally be doing this! (I’ve already told my sister who lives in Connecticut to order one for her table.) To pre-order your arrangement, head to Nicole Absher's website. This is the perfect way to support a local business and let's be honest, wow your guests. Orders will be available for pickup on Tuesday, Nov. 24 and Wednesday, November 25 from 8:00am-1:00 pm at Millers & Makers in Ridgewood, NY. 


Some local caterers are also happy to provide you a delicious meal or sides to add to your holiday table. We’re ordering sides from Root Catering for Thanksgiving and frying our first turkey. (Wish us luck!). They also have offerings for the holidays, too!

Love custom curated gift boxes? Check out my collaboration with Teak & Twine

If You Want to Shop in Person 

Kin Event Space is hosting a holiday Sip and Shop on Saturday, November 28. In addition to providing complimentary coffee, the market will feature Rochester area artists and makers. The bar will also have available for purchase Bloody Mary's, Mimosas, beer, and wine accompanied by donuts from Kelly's Farm Market and Flour City Bread Pretzels. You can learn more via this link

For the Hard to Shop for

Plants!  Stick with me here. I wasn’t a big plant person before. (I kill them all unless my husband takes them under their wing). But I’ve recently adopted some small air plants and they are SO EASY to care for! Plus, they do well in offices or artificial light, so you don’t feel like you have to give them the right amount of light. You can get one of these Air Plant terrariums at Stacy K floral in Rochester. If you don’t live nearby, check out a local flower or plant shop and pick out a cute container to present it!

Beautiful, Hand Lettered Ornaments, Gift Tags, and Santa Letters – Ya’ll know I love custom hand lettering. (I’ve been practicing my calligraphy for about a year now since it’s a good skill to have in case I need to letter an escort card in a pinch.) Olivia from Roc Pen Ink is offering custom lettering on ornaments, gift tags, and the most gorgeous and adorable letters from Santa to kids who made it to the “Nice” list. Isn't her work amazing?!


I’m personally sending custom ornaments to clients this year from Olivia and they turned out beautifully! I don’t know if my kids earned a spot on the “Nice” list, but I just might order them because they’re so beautiful and make gorgeous keepsakes. Custom ornaments are $15 each, gift tags are $12 for a set of 8, and Santa letters with nice list certificates are $30 (or just $20 if you want only the letter). You can order your gifts here.

For the Family Getaway to the Adirondacks

We've doing a lot of hiking this year and have been dreaming of escaping to the mountains and capturing family photos when we are relaxed and away from normal life (or quarantine life). Thankfully, Mary Dougherty moved from Rochester to the Adirondacks a few years ago (honestly, I wish she was still here in Rochester, but it's a win-win now) and she opened up her heirloom sessions JUST FOR US with a short, easy to book offer.

Honestly, she's never done anything like this before, and I'm so excited for you all to take advantage of this! If you ever wanted gram-worthy photos of you and your family or you and your significant other, this is it! Book the session here by Friday, December 18!

College Park Motors 4512 Railway Ave Vermillion, AB T9X 1E9

For the New Neighbors

Lots of people are moving out of cities. What better way to introduce them to the community than with a gift box curated with local small businesses? This Roc Holiday gift box comes with gifts hand-picked by the Stacy K Floral team, including a Ritual Clay mug, and a Flour City Candle by Fleurish Co.

For the Parents

They’re only little once. Take this time to capture beautiful memories of your family with a talented photographer. I know 2 amazing photographers that are offering gift certificates for family sessions or holiday photos. 

According to Jess Kamens, “Kids put their whole selves into discovery. When they meet someone kind, they make a new friend. Every time. They teach us adults how to just ‘be’ during a photo session. This is how we collaborate to preserve your family’s moments — the exciting, the crazy, and the authentic. It is known that children who grow up with portraits of themselves and their family on the wall feel a greater sense of belonging.”

I love this approach. For handmade artwork custom made for your family, reach out to Jess for a complimentary consultation and planning meeting. She would be happy to create some heirloom pieces for your family.

*Jess has generously offered to include the session fee of $250 to go towards your artwork if you mention my name and book your session before 12/31/2020. That’s a huge savings!

Love handmade? Me too! Shop handmade gifts on EtsyI love these handmade clay earrings by Jean and Bee.

Another talented photographer offering gift cards for family photo sessions this holiday season is Gabrielle Plucknette, who currently works as the Assistant Director of Photography in Marketing & Communications at Rochester Institute of Technology. Previously, she worked as a photo editor at New York Magazine and in the photo department of The New York Times Magazine

You can book your photo session with her starting at $250 hereIf you’re a young or new mom or know someone who is, definitely add family photos to your wish list!

For the Engaged

If you need a wedding photographer, check out Jess Kamens.

According to her, “You’ve planned it, dreamed about it, and now the day is here. It will unfold around you, and while you’re focused on living it, your photographer is there to assemble all the tiny moments that bring alive your wedding story. Your joint vision with your photographer (and planner!) becomes your family heirloom. The planning, energy and dedication that goes into wedding photography requires a devoted person dedicated to making sure everything goes as planned.”

Jess is currently available for a few remaining dates in 2021 as well as 2022. Reach out to her to schedule your session today!

Jess has generously offered to include a $250 artwork credit for weddings if you mention my name. That's a huge savings! Thanks, Jess!


If you’re looking for a wedding venue, check out the properties by the Stonewall Group: Stonewall Estate and Noble Point at Stonewall Pastures. Stonewall Estate is nestled in Central New York and has accommodations for the wedding party and space to 300 guests! Their newest property, Noble Point sits atop a mountain with the most gorgeous views of the valleys and mountains in the distance. Both properties are offering significantly discounted rates for their remaining 2021 dates. Reach out to Louann at to inquire or visit their website here.

For the Music Lover

My friend Gregg Hollman at Ambient DJs suggested purchasing ingredients for a specialty cocktail and providing them with a digital card linking to their Music Mixologist project, which curates music playlists based on specific cocktails. This would also be great for newly engaged couples to help them celebrate their engagement and get them thinking about their cocktail hour! My favorite list (shocker) is the St. Germaine Wedding Cocktail Hour.

If cocktails aren’t your thing, Gregg suggests curating a playlist based on their interests (you could even personalize it with their photo and make a custom link with and gifting them with an optional Spotify gift card. 

For the Mixologist

We have some amazing local distilleries in New York. Why not put together a basket from some of your favorite purveyors, like this Root Beer Float kit complete with Black Button Bourbon Cream and Saranac Root Beer from Black Button Distillery, their Pink Power Cocktail Kit (pictured below), or with a variety of gins from Honeoye Falls Distillery.


For the Foodie

Gift cards to your favorite restaurants are also a great way to give a delicious meal while still supporting the local scene. According to Travel & Leisure, 100K restaurants closed in the first 6 months of the pandemic. This Fox Business article projected that 40% of restaurants will close by March of 2020 if they don’t receive aid. That just breaks my heart.

shop local in New York

Below are some of my favorite restaurants that are working hard to stay open – some with outdoor tented seating! And don’t forget, if you don't feel comfortable dining out, you can always get takeout!

For the Wine Lover

This post started as a way to support the local wineries, so I have to mention some of my favorites here. But really, there are so many deserving ones. Just support someone!

Standing Stone Vineyards in Hector, NY (Eastern side of Seneca Lake) – My favorite is their 2019 Gewürztraminer. It’s the perfect balance of dry and a little sweet.

Herman J. Wiemer in Dundee, NY (Western side of Seneca Lake) – Grab their Dinner Party Pack and your holiday dinner is done!

Prejean Winery in Dundee, NY (Western side of Seneca Lake) – My friend and I loved their Tiger Lily.


For the Professional

Need updated headshots or brand photos? Check out Jess Kamens Photography. She wants to work with you to fill the frame with your personality, and draw people to follow and work with you. Many people are currently reinventing themselves and their business during these unprecedented times. Maybe you’re looking for a new branding portrait or branding imagery to help feed your online content and presence. Reach out to her to schedule your session today!

Jess has generously offered to include the session fee of $250 to go towards your artwork if you mention my name and book your session before 12/31/2020. That’s a huge savings!

support local branding photographer in New York

For the Fashionable

I love the new jewelry line Jean and Bee. Her handmade clay polymer earrings are absolutely stunning and I want them all! I've known Adrienna for about a year and she recently moved from Ithaca, NY to Minnesota. While she's not local to New York anymore, I still want to show her some love as her earrings are beautiful! Her white marble gold foil clay polymer earrings (below) are so fun and would go great with so many outfits! Oh, and if you need help with your Pinterest and Blogging game, check out her other business Ava and the Bee! You will love her!

Want even more gift inspiration? Check out my 2020 Millenial Schitt's Creek Gift Guide and My Favorite Things – The Best Gifts from New York 2019 

While not exhaustive, I hope this list gives you a good start of local businesses you can support both on Small Business Saturday, Black Friday and this whole holiday season. I love shopping local and hope this list helps you find some wonderful presents to gift to your loved ones.

In case you scrolled to the bottom:

I hope you shop local this holiday season. We all need to support each other and small businesses have been negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic in so many ways. My top picks for holiday gifts are shopping in person at the Holiday Sip and Shop at Kin Event Space, Air Plant terrariums or this Roc Holiday gift box from Stacy K, custom hand-lettered ornaments from Roc Pen Ink, this Root Beer Float kit from Black Button Distillery, a gift certificate from Avvino, and wine from Standing Stone Vineyards


Holiday Gift Guide Shop Local in New York

For more holiday ideas, make sure you follow me on Instagram and subscribe to the blog below!

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commission if you purchase through this link. However, I promise to only share tools and products I truly love and would use for myself or recommend to my clients.