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    You're welcome ahead of time for the dose of joy you'll get from following the recommendations included below. It's always a great idea to support local artists and businesses when doing your holiday shopping, but Occupy Wall St! seems to be inspiring more people to raise a banner (both literally and metaphorically) to pay more attention to individuals in the community.

    It's funny. We live in a country that seems to sell "individuality". We put so much importance on individuality and "being ourselves" yet rush to stores to buy things that are exactly the same thing everyone else has.  How unique is that?  I invite you to accept the challenge to buy at least one item from a local business or creative this season. 

    Louisville has an amazing and diverse creative scene full of artists and other creators with affordable products for sale that make great gifts and/or stocking stuffers. There are also still locally owned hardware, paint, furniture, electronic shops and design studios. How about local and more personalized gyms or personal trainers?  In addition to that, there are some great events that offer the chance to support local artists and businesses. Many of these items are made in small runs or are one of a kind. I feel sorry for the people who don't know that there are ways to enjoy festive events and shop at the same time, making lifelong memories. You can make a family event out of finding entertainment and shopping all in one swoop! I've listed some of my recommendations below.

    This list is far from being all-encompassing.  I have been supremely blessed with the acquaintance of many talented artists and business owners in our fine city. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments! I encourage you to seek out more local artists and businesses this season to really add to the bliss that comes with gift giving. Invest financially AND emotionally in your gift giving this season.  It's like a four-way gift. You'll be gifting the artist or local business, gifting your loved one, and gifting our city by supporting our local economy. (In some cases you may be also gifting a non-profit).  As if that's not enough, you'll be gifting yourself with the good feelings and the "come around" of keeping money local. It is your city after all.

    Visual Artists:

    Michael Gaither: A ceramic artist from Fort Knox, Kentucky. His work is functional and beautiful. There is a certain quaintness to his work and the pieces are affordable
    beginning at just $12. His ceramic whistles in the shape of a variety of animals are of particular interest. In a digital age, he produces pieces that inspire imagination and admiration.
    These would make great treasures to put into your children's stockings. His next show will be December 10 at the Bard's Town from 4 to 8 p.m.

    Kenn Parks: His abstract paintings are vibrant and full of passion. His prices are affordable as well beginning at just $40. That is extremely fair for an international artist with his appeal. You can find his work at his solo exhibit at The Bodega at Felice. His work adds a creative flair to any home.

    Tader Heads Crochet - This is some of the most adorable crochet work I've ever seen, specializing in winter hats. Most of their hats are for children and showcase a variety of lovable critters, creatures, and colors. The fun of these hats also help children keep track of them. Show your tader head how much you love them by giving them a  well made gift of warmth.  


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    About Jessica Lynn

    Jessica Lynn has been writing for since fall of 2010 and has also been published in LEO, Velocity, Voice-Tribune and others after serving as Editor in Chief of The JCC student newspaper, The Quadrangle. She has also served as columnist or contributing writer to an array of online publications.

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