December 11, 2015

Beyond Buckskin's Fricken Awesome Holiday Gift Guide 2015

It's that ring-ting-a-ling time of year again! The tree is up, I've got a snowman penguin in my living room, and my TV 'to watch' list is packed with Rudolph, Frosty, and the Grinch! Yes! It is time to reconnect with family, to hang with friends, and to Buy Native. I estimate that I spend anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 per year on gifts. Whether you think this number is high, or is only a fraction of what you spend, or that you don't spend any money at all, we can't deny that money is circulating this time of year, and I'm here to help redirect any tiny bit of that to artists, to Native-owned businesses, and to community initiatives.

If we can redirect any of that amount from major companies over to supporting Native-owned businesses that foster job creation and boost local economic development, all while encouraging tribal self-determination and making traditional practices viable career options for our tribal members, I think that would bring so much more additional meaning and purpose to our holiday spending.

We have the power to change what the world looks like with the choices we make in how we spend our money. Do we want to invest in, and support, a company that profits off of the current Native-inspired trend, while having no connection to or understanding of Native people, cultures or communities, or do we want to support and promote the ones who inspired the trend in the first place, the original, Aboriginal artists of this continent? We can bring greater recognition to the genius of these artists, to the creativity of our ancestors, and to the beauty of our stories and traditional practices, and all for the betterment of our communities.

We can make a change. We can make this world a better place. We can provide more opportunities to talented Native American people. We can create flourishing economies here, on Indigenous lands and in our communities. It takes small steps, but those steps lead to bigger ones, and they lead to more opportunities and possibilities.

OxDx Red Pattern Swoop Tee at

When I launched the Beyond Buckskin Boutique, I realized how hard it was for the average person to access Native-made items. When the Boutique launched in 2012, we were part of a movement to get more Native-owned businesses online. And now, we have access to dozens of top-notch options, which you can view at our BUY NATIVE list link, a list that continues to grow every day.

Now, I know that our time is precious, and we'd much rather be spending that time with family and friends instead of spending hours hunting down the perfect gift for loved ones. So, I want to make it easy for folks to buy and support Native-made this holiday season. I'm a little late in getting this gift guide posted, but these sites are still shipping daily, knowing that you need these items asap. I can speak for Beyond Buckskin when I say that we're even footing the bill when it comes to upgrading your order to ship it faster. From a business perspective, it makes no sense in getting your order to you late and after the tree has come down and the decorations are back in the box. We're here to make your holidays brighter.

So, I give you my quick and dirty (and by 'dirty', I mean 'fabulous') guide to giving awesome Native-made gifts this year. Just click, add to cart, and check out. Ta-da!

Eighth Generation - Owner Louie Gong (Nooksack) has stepped up to create a phenomenal site to purchase Native-made blankets, jewelry, and art prints (and more!). Snatch up the Salish Pattern Wool Blanket for your parents, and get the Butterfly Throw Blanket by Acoma Pueblo artist Michelle Lowden for all the young couples in your life. The opportunity to snuggle on the couch with loved ones = priceless.

Sister Sky - Without fail, I give Sister Sky products to somebody each year, because they are that good. Reliable, fast, and luxurious, this brand is owned by two Native American sisters, and they offer lotions, soaps, shampoos, conditioners and gift sets mixed with indigenous plants and recipes. All-natural luxury! And who doesn't want the smell of Sweet Grass on your skin everyday? Also, check out Mother Earth Essentials, founded by Carrie Langevin who comes from a long line of Cree Medicine women.

Rebelina - We all have those impossible-to-buy-for people on our lists. They have it all, or they're just too fashionable or popular or particular to buy for, and so you just resort to gift cards (oh, we have those too BTW) because honestly, it's just intimidating to even think about buying them something "ho-hum." Well, let me let you in on a little secret: beaded sunglasses. Seriously, these buggers light up everyone's face. You instantly feel cool, you instantly feel happy, it's a home run. If they already have a pair, you're in luck because there's just no such thing as too many beaded sunglasses. Black ones, reflective ones, tortoise shell, rimless.. there's so many options! Order now, though, so you'll have time to wrap!

Manitobah Mukluks - Oh I just love these! Aboriginally-owned and -operated, this site focuses on making really great mukluks, moccasins, and accessories. Real leather, real fur, real awesome. They offer a variety of colors, styles and price points so that you can spoil yourself and the people you love regardless of your budget and style. I own a pair, I rock them all the time, and the compliments just flow in. And they are ridiculously comfortable. All feet will be overwhelmingly happy. I suggest the Snowy Owl Mukluk, Half Mukluk, and/or the Mittens!

Mea B'Fly - When I'm on a budget (which is always!) yet want to give a special treasure/gift to a female in my life, I go for these earrings. The artist, MaRia Bird, offers a wide variety of designs, colors, and sizes of earrings that are inspired by the power of the past and infused with the energy of today. The small Humma Bird Remix Earrings are currently a top fave and only $20! These lil gems are perfect for all ages, from teens to grandmas and beyond. Everybody fricken loves them.

Cool Tees - And everybody loves a great tee! They are simple, and they pack a punch. Check out our options now: they're bold, Native-made, and totally comfy and cool for all the fellas on your list! The Native Americans Discovered Columbus tee (above) is a classic, and is available as a long sleeve tee option, too. Worried about size? Well, we've got sizes XS to 4XL, and we'll help you with an exchange if it doesn't fit just right.

One-of-a-Kind Treasures - Need something totally unique and knock-out awesome? Need a little gem for a special someone? Shop our Boutique gift guides online now: Gifts for Him and Gifts for Her. We've sorted through our 300 product offerings and hand-selected options that are sure to be a hit. From delicate jewelry to bold statement accessories, and everything in between, we've got you covered!

Makwa Studio - If you're willing to go beyond the holidays for an awesome gift, stay warm and look great in knitted scarves, cowls, and beanies by Maggie Thompson. Makwa means bear in her Native language, and Thompson's designs are inspired by her Ojibwe heritage. Each piece is handmade in Minnesota with 100% wool. However, the sheep are on hiatus, and the white yarn is on backorder, so orders made with white yarn will take longer to fill. But, we've got other options, so shop away!

If you've got some time on your hands, please shop our other BUY NATIVE list options now - there's so much to pick from! Happy holidays!