Toys R Us, Target, WalMart, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, The Gap—they're popular stores that get plenty of our cash come gift-giving time. But every year, I do try my best to throw some of my holiday shopping dollars to small businesses owned by blacks and other people of color—to support them, to make a statement with my gift-giving, and certainly because these businesses tend to cater to my style—our flavor.
Admittedly, finding those companies can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you don't know where to start looking. But don't fret, my pretties: You know MyBrownBaby's got your back. This year, I combed the web in search of goodies made and or sold by people of color and found THE BEST gifts—like dolls, stationery, jewelry, art, children's books, clothes, and beauty products you'll be proud to give to the favorite people on your list.
First up: Delicious treats for the little girls in your life. Click on the headlines or the prices at the end of each listing to get to the online stores selling these precious goodies, all of which have the MyBrownBaby Fresh stamp of approval. Happy shopping!
To the rear, Barbie! In a sunny room in Austin, TX, a doll maker is handcrafting these beautiful dolls for our little girls, who all-too-often have slim pickings when it comes to toy playmates that look just like them. Each 12-inch Handmade Project doll has a hand-embroidered face, a 100 percent cotton body and hair made of wool felt—designed specifically to reflect the hair and skin tone of our little girls. The dolls are made in a pet-free, smoke-free studio, and come with a free PDF sewing pattern with easy-to-follow illustrated instructions for making play food for your kiddo. For kids 3 and up. $19.50, exclusively at The Handmade Project on Etsy.
Another great doll option are these AH-DORABLE (!) Pretty Puff Dolls. They're plush by design but come with—wait on it... afro puffs pony tails! The designer says she made them "to show minority girls, teens, and women that being different, having brown skin and kinky hair is absolutely a thing of beauty." Indeed! And so are these super cute dolls, available in four different styles. $24.99 at Pretty Puffs Boutique.
And what little girl doesn’t like to write notes? Inspire her to jot down her “sweet nothings” and “thank yous” on these adorable note cards from She’s Got Papers, a line of whimsical stationery designed specifically for the little lady in your life. Choose between five different adorable folded 4x6 note card designs for little girls, three hip designs for tweens, or an entire collection of folded note and flat cards and playdate “business” cards for the grown ladies. $12 for a collection of six Sunday Best note cards and matching envelopes, here at She’s Got Papers.
All natural everything! This handmade, all-purpose coconut balm, made with organic coconut oil, coconut butter and coconut wax and housed in this beautiful sustainable, albacia wood container, moisturizes everything from her pucker to her tootsies—and for a worthy purpose. Proceeds from the sale of this all-natural balm allow four girls to join in on the Peace & Beauty Project’s programming, which educates and inspires young brown girls to learn about the beauty products we put on our bodies, how they affect us and what we can do to be greener and safer—all-the-while boosting their self-esteem. Give your baby this coconut balm and help four more babies uplift themselves—a gift that gives! $25, exclusively at The Peace & Beauty Project.
Total cuteness in a bottle, that’s what these yummy polishes are. And if your girls are anything like mine, all that cuteness needs to be on nails. Choose from 28 colors—the Mint, Sun Kiss and Kiwi are girly and perfectly playful for little girls—and pair the polish with a nail file, fingernail polish remover, a handful of cotton balls and you’ve got the perfect little manicure set for your little fashionista. The beauty of these polishes is that not only are they free of harmful products like formaldehyde, toluene and DBP, but a percentage of each sale will be donated to aiding the people of Haiti, home of M2M partner Melky Jean, sister of Wyclef. $11 per bottle at M2MdamoreJon.com.
Miss You, Mina, by Denene Millner
Yes, this would be shameless self-promotion, but even if I didn’t write it, I’d still think “Miss You, Mina” is a terrific gift for the tween in your life. If she’s a fan of the Scholastic Candy Apple Series—what tween girl isn’t?!—then she’ll be quite excited about “Mina,” the first in the almost 30-book series to feature an African American character. Mina is a 12-year-old soccer and art fanatic from New Jersey who spends her summer living with her uber-cool aunt in Ft. Green, Brooklyn, while attending an art camp in New York City’s SoHo. There, she learns how to deal with mean girls and who to count as a true friend, and in the process, she discovers her art—and self—while studying the history of culture and black folk in Harlem. It’s a fun, meaningful read for the booklover in your life! $5.99, here on Amazon or wherever books are sold. Miss You, Mina (Candy Apple)
PHOTO CREDIT: √oхέƒx™