You’ve decided that you want to support small businesses this holiday season – awesome!
There are tons of small, geeky businesses that you can shop for gaming accessories, artwork, soap with d20s inside… you name it, you can probably find a little guy or gal online selling it.
Before I tell you about the big mistake you don’t want to make when choosing holiday goodies from these small businesses, let me tell you about a few that I really like:
Jess is the queen of geek soap. You’ll find a selection of gamer soaps with d20s inside (pictured above), as well as soaps for fans of Firefly, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Minecraft, The Guild, Ghostbusters, and more. All soaps are handmade and the majority are 100% vegan. (They smell delicious, but you probably shouldn’t eat them.) My favorite is the Barbarian Scrub. It smells orangey and has scrubby bits inside. Love, love, love it.
Marsbarn Dice Bags
I bought my dice bag from Marsbarn on Etsy…. gosh, 3 years ago? (Yep, 3 years ago.) It is still going strong, after much abuse, travel, and a ton of dice and random things being stored in it. Not a stitch has come out of place. Since it’s double-sided, I can choose whether I feel like being Irish (green Celtic print on the outside) or goofy (black & white goofy monster print on the outside). The drawstring works no matter which I choose.
Shop Marsbarn on Etsy
DragonChow Dice Bags
DragonChow is another purveyor of quality dice bags. I don’t own one, but my boyfriend does and I can definitely vouch for the quality! I’d probably say that DragonChow’s claim to fame (other than Chompy the dragon mascot!) is the Tall Pencil Strap Dice Bag, which is a whopping 9″ tall. And for you game bag grognards out there, there’s even one made from a Crown Royal bag.
Shop DragonChow Dice Bags
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Scents
If the geek you’re buying for this holiday season loves to smell good, you might consider Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s scents. They even have an RPG series that allows you to blend a custom scent so you can smell like your character. Want to smell like a Good Dwarf Cleric? You can do that. Evil Orc Fighter? Can do that too. Sound a little bizarre? It did to Sucilaria over at Critical Hits, too. Check out her review to get a little more information on BPAL’s RPG series.
Paper Tiger Gifts on Etsy
These are a recent discovery. I haven’t gotten my hands on them yet, but they look so awesome! PaperTiger has a D&D Gift Set which includes a pack of cards to invite players to your campaign, a pad of Notes from the DM, and a pad for drawing Tiny Maps. Each piece of the Gift Set is also sold individually. (My favorite is the Notes from the DM.) Also in their D&D gifts is a greeting card for the love of your gaming life. Fans of the Honey Badger (nasty!) will also find hilarious cards and notepads.
…so what’s the BIG MISTAKE?
The Big Mistake folks make is waiting until December to do their holiday shopping. Most small geek shops are a one wo/man enterprise. They may reel in family members and friends to help for the holidays, but if you all wait until December 10th to place your orders, it makes life pretty tough for the little guys and gals.
If you know you’re going to want to buy your DM a new dice bag or some soaps for that player at your Encounters game that is stinky, do it now. Go on. These things aren’t perishable. You can hang on to them until the gift-giving season.
Not only will this help small businesses survive the holidays with their full heads of hair, it will also ensure that your awesome gifts are in your hands before your holiday party. Nothing sucks worse than having to show up empty-handed and say, “It’s still in the mail.”
If you are going to wait until the last minute, but still want to buy from the little guys and gals, consider asking if they offer a gift certificate option. Then you can gift your friends and family members with a choice. Pay for a dice bag and let them choose the fabric. Buy a set of 3 vials of perfume and let them choose the scents. It’s the perfect way to say “You’re awesome, but I trust your judgement better than mine in these things.” ;-)
Happy Holiday Shopping, geek friends!