There’s truly nowhere more magical than New York City at Christmas Time. From the ice skating rink in Central Park to the store front windows lining 5th Avenue, the Christmas music wafting through the cold December air while the street Santa’s ring their bells, this city takes the cake for best place to visit during this time of year. If you haven’t been, add it to your list stat. If you have been, then you’ve probably just been transported back to those memories and that feeling with these few lines. 

Another NYC-Christmastime-fan-favorite is, of course, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. It is truly a spectacle. One year we happened to be in Rockefeller Center as the grand tree was lowered into place and it’s a memory that’s etched in my mind forever. Everything stopped in that moment, people from every background gathered in splendor, and anything going on in the world came to a stand still. 

However, did you know that the first tree at Rockefeller Center probably looked more like a Charlie Brown tree than the one it represents today? Construction workers at the site first placed a small, undecorated tree while working there in 1931. Two years later, another tree appeared in its place, this time with lights. It grew and grew from there. Nowadays, the giant Rockefeller Center Tree bears more than 25k twinkling lights and is visited by millions from around the world. 

I like to think that’s a lot like how small businesses begin. They start with a dream, the dream turns into vision and the vision turns into a daily effort of putting one foot in front of the other. Little by little, with continued hard work, bravery and prayers these business owners look back in awe and splendor. Not even initially at the outward growth, but the growth that’s happened from within. 

Speaking from experience, although a newbie small business owner, I’ve learned so much already. Each day is a steep learning curve, it’s a conscious effort of putting one foot in front of the other, holding on to prayer and gut feelings and just making the decision to go for it. That’s why this Christmas I am making more of an effort to shop small and support other dreamers like myself. So that one day they can look back at their Charlie Brown start in wonder at how far they’ve come. 

These are just a handful of my favorites, but there are so many more, I might just need to do another one of these roundups. Until then, here are some of my favorite small businesses to support this year! 

And yes, the holiday season is about so much more than presents and indulging in the gimmie gimmies –– but it’s also so fun to shower those we love where we can and make them feel like the special people that they are. So perhaps while shopping around, you can support someone who WILL actually do a happy dance when your order comes through. Hand raised over here! 

ONE |  The BebeHive Children's lifestyle store providing sustainable fun for little people. A conscious, design-led collection of ethical lifestyle goods for babies, children + the modern parent.

TWO | Cygnet Living Classic children's style clothing with the option to personalize. We have a few pieces of Cygnet and they are those items that we will hang on to for generations to come.

THREE | RAOK Boutique RAOK - Random Acts of Kindness, is the heartbeat of this boutique. It's owned by a dear friend and everyone who enters the shop is treated like family. They are a blessing to their customers and community and they have the most gorgeous pieces of clothing. You can pop into their store front in Plant City or you can now shop the store online. 

FOUR | Paper & Cities I fell in love with this shop and was pulled in by the gorgeous illustrations of some of my favorite places to visit. This is a great gift for the jet setters in your life. 

FIVE | Social Squares I'm a member myself so know first hand that this would make a great useful tool for the creative in your life who's maybe wanting to start something of their own. This membership includes marketing tips, monthly business inspiration and allows you access to a collection of creativity styled stock photography. 

SIX | Mail Your Mark Well, you may already be familiar with this one? I truly believe that what we tell ourselves becomes the narrative by which we live. Shop our site to give the gift of encouragement this year. 

SEVEN |  Selfish Mother I'm a proud owner of one of these MOTHER sweatshirts and it's that thing in my closet that gets worn more times than not. It's comfy, cozy and makes a great gift for that new mama or mama-to-be. 

EIGHT | Cookie Crate Gift one and grab one for yourself, you'll thank me later. The Cookie Crate is a box of freshly baked cookies straight to your door. They obviously make a great gift for those relatives who live out of state, friends who have a little sweet tooth and they also make great add-ons to teachers gifts and gifts to those people who serve you throughout the year (think postman, delivery driver, cleaner?). I promise you, once you try them you WILL be coming back for more. 

NINE | Bayshore Biscuit Think freshly baked biscuits made from scratch with the option of delivery direct to your front door. Is your mouth watering yet? This is owned by a sweet friend who uses her grandmothers recipes with a modern twist to bring these biscuits to a new generation. I plan on sending these to those I can't be with this Christmas and would snag a box myself if only they would make it across the pond!

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