I had planned a shopping post for Black Friday, but then I got so exhausted from all the pre-Black Friday emails I was receiving, that I decided to let it go.

While I know everyone needs to make money, and we all want to buy holiday gifts, the rampant consumerism gets to me. This year especially, when people are standing in line at food banks, it just feels like too much. A lot of people are hurting this year because their livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic. I just couldn’t bring myself to create yet another Amazon affiliate post with gift suggestions.

I think they can be helpful, and I will do more of them this year. But I had to give Black Friday a break.

This year I want to encourage you to shop from as many small sellers as possible. Small and micro businesses can really use the help. And you’ll likely find unique handmade gifts that were made with great care.

I belong to the Indie Business Network, which has thousands of members with handmade businesses. I’m always astounded at the level of craftsmanship that goes into their products. If you want a true artisan experience, shop the handmade industry. Here is the Indie Business Holiday Gift Guide for 2020.

It became glaringly apparent this year, that the American manufacturing base has disappeared. We couldn’t even produce our own face masks and protective gloves during a pandemic. We buy everything from China. The small handmade maker really came through in these times.

I’ve been buying beautiful cloth face masks from a company called Jean’s Kelly. The owner is a friend of mine, and she really puts her heart into making a safe product.

This is only one example of the many online businesses that have popped up during the pandemic to fill a need.

If you don’t know where to get started, try looking through Etsy, a company that only sells handmade and vintage items. Your Black Friday purchases can help support a small manufacturer and their family.

Or better yet, try making your own gifts this year. You may surprise yourself at how talented you are.