Shop Local! – or – Christmas Gifts You Could Buy at a Big Retailer but Should Buy in Blissfield, Michigan Instead!

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Downtown Blissfield – isn’t it cute? Click the pic for the map.

I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t support the idea of “buy local.”

On the other hand, the numbers show that most of us don’t do it.

Why?  Well… for many I would guess it comes down to price and the convenience of getting everything they need in one place.  However, I came to the realization, over the past week, that I often shop at the Big Box because I’m used to shopping at the Big Box.  It’s just a habit to go there.

I forget that there are so many wonderful, useful products offered, right here in my little town!

So I grabbed my BFF, strapped Little Hippie Baby in his limo-stroller, put some good walking shoes on Sweet Hippie Daughter and we hit the pavement in search of…

CHRISTMAS GIFTS YOU COULD BUY AT A BIG RETAILER BUT SHOULD BUY IN BLISSFIELD, MICHIGAN INSTEAD!

If you are one of the 18 people who actually live in my town (OK…  It’s not THAT small.  It just feels that way sometimes) this will save you time and gas!  

If you live in a 30 mile radius it will give you a fabulous excuse to come shopping  (and eating! There is great food.  Don’t forget to eat!) in the cutest, sweetest, most charming little historic downtown area this side of the Windsor tunnel.

I’ll start with toys, since that must be one of the big things that nearly everyone buys for Christmas.

There are amazing toys all over the place here!  And they’re not the horrible, cheap, plastic, noise-making things you find at so many chain stores.

Check it out!

Squishy Tushy has a beautiful selection of toys for the infant, toddler, and preschool set.

There are lots and lots of sweet, colorful wooden toys, like this one.  There are kitchen sets and trains and animals in a tree house and rattles and musical instruments and… just about anything your little loved one would enjoy.

Cute big-bead toys for little hands to play with (and safe for little teeth, too).

Little Hippie Baby was especially partial to this extraordinarily silky stuffed horse that you can warm in the microwave.

These few pictures don’t begin to cover their selection.  If you’re looking for baby toys – start here!

They even have a few things for older children (or adults with a thing for stamping?).

In addition to these adorable stamp sets there are lip glosses and piggy paint (non toxic nail polish), pretty purses and more!

Most of this merchandise and more is available at www.squishytushy.com.

Other places sell toys, too.

We found these super-cute wooden train letters at the Blissfield General Store for less than $5 each!

This place was a treasury of little bric-a-brac… boxes of chalk and bins full of marbles and baskets with beads and polished stones and more.

They also have some amazing antique toys that I wish I’d thought to get a picture of.  If you’re looking for a mint-condition spinning top or “flying” zepplin, the General Store is your place!  The only downside is that their hours are sporadic.  If you’re driving in just to go to this one store, I’d suggest calling or emailing first to make sure they’ll be there when you arrive.

The locals think of Royal Expressions as a flower shop, but it is so much more!  It was there that we found this treasure chest of lovables.

An older girl might appreciate one of their $5 Haitian Bead Bracelets as a stocking stuffer.  They are pretty and unique and the money goes to a great cause!

Speaking of the older kids, do you have an outdoor enthusiast in your life?

Michigan Extreme Outdoor seemed to pop up out of nowhere in one of the old downtown buildings one day.  If you haven’t been there, you should go today and check it out!

I can think of several young boys that would go nuts over their selection of skateboard and sports accessories, kites, athletic shoes and kayak equipment.

On the other hand, forget the kids. I want this kite for myself!

The one thing I didn’t see was electronics.  Alas, our town is behind the times in that way.  But, to be honest, I’m sort of sick of them, myself.  I’m thinking we need more sporting goods and pretty wooden toys under our tree this year and less things that require batteries or AC adapters.

Christmas isn’t just about the kids, though!

Being… you know… women… we found tons of “gifts for her.”  (Handsome Hippie Hubby – there may be a quiz at the end of this post, just for you)

We found this rack and SO MUCH MORE at Boutique Bliss, a women’s accessories and gifts shop.

Is your girl, like SHD and me, super fond of those ridiculously soft “sherpa” blankets? Skip Pottery Barn and get this gorgeous one at Blissful Living instead!

My BFF and I both adored these windchimes at Royal Expressions.

and this wreath at Blissful Living.

… or one of these beautifully scented candles from Michigan Extreme Outdoors (although we weren’t sure how they fit together with the skateboarding stuff).

Do you give clothes for Christmas?

Then you have to stop in at Stone Hawk Tees.  Don’t let the name fool you – it’s not just t-shirts!  I saw hoodies and sweatpants and pajamas and polos and more.

They had tons of great items on the rack, like these:

But what was most impressive is that they will custom make an item for you for only about $20 (depending on the item, and what you would like printed on it).  You don’t need to buy in bulk, either.  If you want one shirt, they will make just one for you!  If you need uniforms for your whole troop/team/organization/family/school…. they can help you with that, too.  Why order online when you can speak to the printer face-to-face and pay the same or less?!

And don’t forget that everyone needs a stocking full of candy on Christmas!  You won’t find anything better than the candies at Cakes ‘n Shakes.  While you are there, picking out the sweets you love, you can take a break at the old fashioned soda fountain and talk to them about having them do all your holiday baking for you.

There was so much more than I could possibly show here in pictures!

Blissfield is full of antique stores that offer every sort of item you can imagine from glassware to slot machines to furniture.  There is a shop that sells Thomas Kincade’s artwork other gorgeous home decor.  There are salons that offer gift certificates for all the treatments that make a person feel pampered.  The Pack Rat is a consignment store in a gorgeous historic building where merchandise of every and any sort is stacked, floor-to-ceiling like something you would find in Diagon Alley.

In every single store we were warmly greeted and happily helped.  You just don’t get treated that well in a chain store.

All that is on a single downtown block!  Explore a little further into the village and you’ll find JTrees winery, Southward’s Custom Wood, Gilson’s do-it-yourself hardware store, and Borchardt Brothers Market – a grocery store but also home to lots of sweet little local gifts, glassware, decorations and items for the home.

If you’re thinking, “Golly gee, all that sounds so wonderful, but I just live much too far away to do my shopping in Blissfield,” fear not!  I can almost guarantee that somewhere near you there is a streetful of tiny stores, privately owned and operated.  Before you go to one of those huge stores, just out of habit, take a little time to see what the locals have to offer.  I bet you’ll find you can avoid the crowded mall entirely this season!

Here is the 411 on the stores I specifically mentioned.  For a more complete listing of the Blissfield Area Businesses, visit the Main Street Blissfield website.

Blissfield General Store – Antiques, gifts & sundries

105 S. Lane St.

Blissfield, MI

517-486-6478

baird348@yahoo.com

Blissful Living

122 S. Lane St.

Blissfield, MI  49228

(517) 486-3222

blissfullivingstyle@gmail.com

Boutique Bliss – Women’s accessories & gifts – A shop by Modern Vintage

106 S. Lane St.

Blissfield, MI  49228

(734) 660-4120

http://www.facebook.com/BoutiqueBlissfield

Cakes n’ Shakes

133 S. Lane St.

Blissfield, MI  49228

(517) 486-2074

Michigan Extreme Outdoor – your local kayak, skate, sunglass, and bike dealer, movie & video game sales and rentals

116 S. Lane St.

Blissfield, MI  49228

(517) 682-1025

michiganextremeoutdoor@yahoo.com

Squishy Tushy

103 S. Lane St.

Blissfield, MI  49228

(517) 682-0935

http://www.squishytushy.com

Stone Hawk Tees – Garment Printing

107 S. Lane St.

Blissfield, MI  49228

517-486-4084

stonehawktees@yahoo.com

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17 responses »

  1. Blissfield is a real town?
    We have a great downtown here too where I love to shop for special gifts. I REFUSE to shop at Walmart after reading the book “Nickel and Dimed”, but I’ll confess that I really like Target.

  2. Love the article! Thank you so much for doing this blog. This local store “Stone Hawk Tee’s”
    really appreciates all the free advertising. Even I didn’t know how much all of our local stores carry.
    Thanks again!!!

  3. Pingback: Save Christmas! Observe Advent. | Charming Farming

  4. Now I wish I lived in Blissfield! 🙂 Those wooden toys are SO cool and I love that wreath with the ornaments on it! Thanks for sharing this post! I think I’ll check out the online website address you gave for the wooden toys!

    • They have a great website. They are one of my most favorite stores – in person and online! They always have the coolest stuff! 🙂

  5. what a great post, shopping local is a brilliant idea for any town. 12 years ago my boys had those train letters and we spelled their names, they’re teenagers now and still have them, they loved them. I would recommend them for boys!

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