It's Time to Make Shopping Small Business Big this Christmas Season!
With the holiday season fast approaching we are bombarded by specials and sales that promise savings galore. From the latest toy to a home appliance that makes your life better or easier it’s likely going to be on sale this holiday season. Big box stores local and online run these specials to entice people into their establishments. It’s really no surprise, and most people know this, yet they wake up before daylight to rush to the big box store and wait in line with thousands of other people hoping to get that latest deal. Unfortunately, this is how our society views Christmas shopping today. And while your purchase at one of these big box stores can help a local community, it pales in comparison to what it means for a small business owner.
For a small business owner each and every order they receive is celebrated. Some small business owners only receive a small number of orders and each one is even more awesome. In fact, you may see some small business owners doing high fives after you leave the store with your purchase. You may not realize just how much a small business struggles alongside a big box store that offers those huge sales but they do. And it seems like small business owners are finding it more and more difficult to get shoppers into their stores.
When you buy from small local businesses you’re not just promoting a business or individual but you’re showing them that dreams are possible and they come true. Each and every small business owner started with a dream to become an entrepreneur and sell their products to you. By buying from them you’re basically saying, I can make your dreams come true. Because for many small business owners, buying from them is making their dreams come true.
Another area that small business owners are really committing to is online marketplaces. Just because you shop online doesn’t mean you can’t still shop small this holiday season. In fact, many of the online stores today are operated and owned by small business owners. Places like eBay and Etsy make it easy for local craftsmen and hobbyists to offer their unique, one of a kind wares for you to purchase. Most of these items are handmade and crafted with love specifically for the order.
One of those small business owners that offers unique and personalized wedding invites and other stationary is VG Invites. They hand craft and design great looking products that are offered online at great prices. When you’re shopping small for invitations be sure to check them out.
This holiday season be sure to check out some of the products and services your local and online small business shops have to offer. You’re not just purchasing a product you’re actually making dreams come true with each purchase you make when shopping small this holiday season. Below is a list of small businesses you might consider for your holiday shopping. Merry Christmas from Victoria, a small business owner and I hope you and your family have a great year!
Your Holiday Shopping Small Business List
Avery Piano www.musiclessons.com/rii-kids-create
Crocus Road Crafts www.crocusroadcrafts.etsy.com
Education by Entertainment www.EducationByEntertainment.com
Krazy Kool Krayons www.etsy.com/shop/krazykoolkrayons
Poppet Industries www.etsy.com/shop/poppetindustries
Rechic Unique Boutique www.rechic.biz
Red Lotus Designs www.theredlotusdesigns.etsy.com
That's My Book Shop by Jessica - Usborne Books & More
VG Invites www.vginvites.etsy.com
Easy DIY Projects For The Holidays That You Can Do With The Kids.
Tis the season for fun filled projects with your children. Celebrating the spirit of Christmas brings lasting memories that can be passed down for generations to come. In honor of my little grandson Eli, who turned 3 this past week, VG Invites has gone in search to bring you a collection of the most festive and cheerful Christmas projects of 2016. My hope is that you will find this to be the best holiday DIY blog of the season...and that Eli will have fun creating some of these with his mom, and my daughter, Ashley. Read what I have in store for you below.
Rice Crispie Christmas Trees: When making these treats it is important to use a gel food coloring, says Lauren of Lauren Caris Cooks, Vegan Recipes & Lifestyle blog where she explains, in depth, how to make these delightful winter wonderland treats. Decorate your trees with sugar stars, as Lauren did, powdered sugar to resemble snow, or festive sprinkles. There is no limit to your imagination.
Call Santa Claus and leave a message at his workshop. Have some fun with your little ones and watch as their eyes light up when they hear Santa's voice on a recorded message. At the end of the call your little one can leave their list of Christmas wishes. Put Santa's tele on speed dial and whenever you need your child to behave, you can remind them that you will call Santa. He knows when you are naughty. And he knows when you are nice. ;)
I couldn't help but fall in love with this cute kraft idea found on Easy Peasy and Fun, Crafts for Kids, Color pages, Activities and Fun Food. These clothespin snowman are so easy to make. You just need a few supplies that you can pick up at Michael's or your local craft store. You may even have some of what you need lying around the house. This also makes a fun project for winter Birthday parties for kids. To learn more on how to make these CLICK HERE.
I took the liberty of sourcing the craft supplies for the above project for you so that you don't have to. You can order your craft supplies below and have them delivered to you.
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.
Remember, we also offer a large selection of Christmas greeting cards and winter invitations. To see our complete line visit VG Invites on Etsy or click here, or visit VG Invites on Zazzle or click here.
I hope that you have enjoyed this post. VG Invites would love to hear you ideas for easy kid friendly crafts. Please leave your comments below.
Victoria's Favorite Vegan, No Flour, No Bake and Traditional Cookie Recipes
The holidays are quickly approaching. Soon our homes will be filled with the aromas of freshly baked goods and Christmas cheer. One of my favorite traditions is the cookie swap. Hosting a Christmas cookie swap is a great way to simplify your holiday baking. Instead spending an entire day baking batch after batch of 10 different kinds of cookies, each person makes enough of their favorite cookie to share at at holiday cookie swap. This gives you more time with friends and family. I would like to share with you some of my favorite recipes for vegan cookies, no flour cookies, no bake cookies and a twist on a traditional oatmeal cookie recipe that has become a favorite among my family and friends.
Coconut and Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is a recipe that my dear friend Sharon shared with me a few weeks ago. One bite of this cookie and you will fall in love. The best part is that you only need 4 ingredients. The recipe can easily be modified into vegan cookies by substituting the chocolate chips for vegan chocolate chips. These cookies are also free of flour.
1 Bag of Coconut
1 Bag of Chocolate Chip
Chopped Pecans or Almonds (optional)
1 Can Sweet Condensed Milk
Stir ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Moisten fingers and drop dough by the heaping rounded teaspoon full onto parchment paper, shape, and pat down. Bake at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Victoria's No Bake Chocolate Raspberry Nut Cookies
This is a recipe that I literally dreamed up one night. I love, love, love the combination of raspberries and chocolate. Guilt free, easy to make and perfect if you want just a little sweet. I like to make these for the Holidays and parties because they are so simple.
1 1/2 cups almonds
1 cup dried apricots cut into pieces
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup un-sweetened shredded coconut.
1 pkg fresh raspberries
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
In a food processor, chop up almonds. Next add dried apricots, then almond butter, and then syrup and process to form a stiff paste or meal. Form into teaspoon-size balls and roll in shredded coconut. Pat down into a round cookie. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler over med-low heat. Add a dollop of melted chocolate to each cookie. Top with a fresh raspberry. Refrigerate before serving. Makes 24 cookies.
Victoria's Chocolatey Crunchy (sort of) Cookies
In case you haven't noticed by now, I am a big fan of chocolate. I developed this recipe back in March of 2011 when I was striving to to limit bad sugars from my diet. These cookies are a guilt-free decadent treat that literally whips up in minutes. Zero processed sugar, gluten free, vegan, and so yummy. AND, as if that were not enough, they are filled with antioxidants, iron, and magnesium. This delicious recipe uses raw chocolate nibs, touted as a Mayan superfood.
1/2 cup CACAO Nibs (Found at Whole Foods)
3/4 cups almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 tsp cocoa
2 cups grain sweetened non-dairy chocolate chips
1/4 cup hemp milk
Dried cherries or cranberries
30 mini paper cupcake liners
Chop the almonds in a food processor. Add CACAO Nibs, coconut, and cocoa. Pulse a few more times. Add brown rice syrup and pulse until completely blended, scraping down the sides as necessary.
In a double boiler melt chocolate chips. Add hemp milk and stir until completely mixed. Add about 1 tsp of melted chocolate to mini cupcake liners. Layer with about a tspn or less of almond mixture. Don’t worry if the almond mixture doesn’t spread evenly. No big deal! Then add another layer of melted chocolate until the almond mixture is completely covered. Top with a dried cherry (my favorite) or dried cranberry. Refrigerate for one hour. Then enjoy after a long day with a nice glass of red wine… or anytime.
Not Your Traditional Oatmeal Cookies - Cranberry & White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
You may use your oatmeal cookie recipe and spruce it up with the ingredients below. Or you may cheat and use the Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie Mix like I did. Make extra because these cookies won't last.
1 Tblsp Water
1 Stick of Butter Softened
1 tsp. Orange Extract
1/2 Cup Chopped Almonds
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chunks
Zest of One Orange
1 Pkg Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie Mix
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl stir together butter, egg, water, and orange extract. Stir in cookie mix, dried cranberries, chopped nuts, white chocolate chunks and zest of orange.
Drop by teaspoon full onto un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool. Makes 4 dozen cookies.
DECORATIVE COOKIE WRAPPING IDEAS
Once you have completed your cookie swap you can share them with your neighbors and coworkers. Wrap your cookies in boxes with festive holiday gift tags or stickers designed by VG Invites. Victoria has designed a complete line of invitations, greeting cards, gift tags and holiday stickers.
Dinner Party Hosting Ideas and Shortcuts
What is Friendsgiving? Thanksgiving day is a day that is usually reserved for family. Friendsgiving is way better than that because it is the celebration dinner with your friends. This usually occurs on the Wednesday before or the Friday after Thanksgiving day. Unlike Thanksgiving where we are obligated to invite family, even if we don't like them, Friendsgiving is a fairly new tradition where we invite our friends. In this article VG Invites will be sharing fun ideas and easy recipes that will help you to start your own Friendsgiving tradition.
Wet Your Whistle With Friendsgiving Cocktails: We suggest choosing one signature cocktail for your event. VG Invites has gathered lots for you to peruse through. With so many mouth watering libations to choose from, it may be difficult to narrow them down to just one. However, having just one signature cocktail helps to keep your liquor costs to a minimum and your mind free to focus on having fun with your guests instead of chained to the bar mixing drinks. I am a big fan of these salted caramel white russians courtesy of Kate La Vie. They are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the pallet. If you would like to see all of VG Invites selection of cocktail recipes, CLICK HERE >>
Your Friendsgiving Menu: First you must decide if your Friendsgiving party is going to be a sit down dinner or a cocktail party with hors d oeuvres. A sit down dinner doesn't have to be all time consuming. The simpler the better I always say. The evening is about enjoying good times with your friends not slaving all day in the kitchen. I like to choose elegant dishes with few ingredients that are simple to prepare. A nice arugula salad with cranberries, blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette is a wonderful first course. Another favorite of mine, that can be served as the main dish or appetizer, is home made turkey pizza. I came across this recipe many years ago while watching the Food Network Channel with my dad one Thanksgiving eve. It was one of our favorite things to do. Only 5 ingredients and it is super simple to make.
One Boboli Pizza Crust
Onions Sliced Thin
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Spread some cranberry sauce over your Boboli Pizza Crust. I like to use Ocean Spray cranberry sauce. Be sure to have a good amount. Top with turkey, shredded mozzarella cheese, and sliced onion. Bake in the oven until the cheese has melted and is bubbly. You wouldn't believe it, but the flavors are simply amazing together and has been one of my favorites for many years.
For dessert, stop at your favorite bakery and pick up a festive pie or cake. Easy peasy! Or if you have the extra time and you are feeling ambitious, try this Simple Pumpkin Cobbler recipe found on Creations by Kara. For other great Friendsgiving recipes and food ideas CLICK HERE >>
A Little Friendsgiving Celebration Decor: We are a fan of this rustic monotone antler center piece. Find great ideas for this modern and chic design along with others at the Tone on Tone Antiques bloodspot.
Your Friendsgiving Invitations: Sending invitations inviting your friends to your dinner party ads a nice touch to your celebration and helps to get your guests excited about the party. VG Invites has created a line of DIY Friendsgiving invitations that you can edit using MS Word or Pages. If you don't wish to do it yourself, Victoria will customize your invitations for you. You will receive a digital file that you can create an eVite from, email, or print as many as you like. Just let her know when placing your order that you would like to use the invitation as an eVite. To see her invitation line CLICK HERE >> OR you may order printed invitations that you customize online by CLICKING HERE>>
We would love to hear about your Friendsgiving ideas. Won't you share them with us in the comments field below.
Easy X-mas Crafts - DIY Ideas
Whether your are an avid do it your selfer or new to homemade gifting, you will become inspired by VG Invites DIY Holiday projects for this gift giving season.
VG Invites fell in love with this Hot Cocoa gift kit. Easy and fun to make, this gift is perfect to give as holiday party favors, gifts for the mail man, or gifts to give to your neighbors. We found this DIY project on hoosierhomemade.com. The idea is brilliant, simple and fun.
Watch as the tea lovers on your holiday list go gleam with delight as you give them this Christmas tea tree. Easy and fun to make, VG Invites found this unique project on ThristyForTea.com. To learn how to create this festive gift for the holidays CLICK HERE >>
DIY Christmas Card Set by VG Invites. It comes with the holiday card templet, envelope liner, and pattern to make your own craft paper envelopes. It is a unique mini Christmas card project that is fun to do with your children on a snowy day. Click here to learn more >>
These DIY lip balms are not only healthy for your lips, but they make great stocking stuffers. Found on theseasonedmom.com the project only requires 3 ingredients, I've made these myself and have to say that I prefer them over store bought lip balms because they keep my lips hydrated much longer. To learn how to make these gifts for your friends and family, CLICK HERE >>
'tis the season for an invigorating peppermint scrub. This DIY project makes a great gift for the women on your Christmas list. Found on meatloafandmelodrama.com this scrub uses only four ingredients. To learn how to make yours CLICK HERE >>