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We all know the holiday season can be a bit stressful (extended family visits, shopping and financial burdens), which is why I like to stock up on soothing scents and candles galore this time of year. And nothing gets me faster than pretty packaging and a product that is environmentally responsible. Artist Amina Ahmad knocks it out of the park on both fronts with her all-natural soy candles "Inspired by nature and rooted in mindfulness."  (Image: Courtesy Handmadehabitat)

9 of the best locally-run Etsy stores for the holidays

Want to hear something scary? Christmas is less than 40 days away! To a procrastinator like me, that is a terrifyingly few number of days to get my ish in order for the holidays. The house needs to be decorated, family schedules need to be coordinated, and, of course, gift lists need to be finalized!

I prefer to shop local whenever I can, which means checking out the holiday markets and making visits to any and all craft fairs that pop up. But for those last minute shopping needs that inevitably pop up, I rely on Etsy. With a little bit of research, your dollars can still be spent locally on Etsy. There are over 200 Washingtonians with Etsy pages, so we decided to do the hard work for you, and cull through the shops to introduce you to a few of our favorites.

Greymoggiepress

I first fell in love with Melanie's humorous letter press cards last Christmas when my roommate gave me a card with the message "All I Want for Christmas is a Football Team with an Inoffensive Name." And then again at the Crafty Bastards festival. So I was thrilled when I realized this maker was a local, with an Etsy shop I could patronize year round! Melanie, who calls herself a "lawyer by training, printer by trade" says she is inspired by urban life, dusty etiquette books, letter writing and typography. With more than 100 unique cards ranging from "Happy Ugly Sweater Season" to "Like a Lady Boss" and "Snail Mail is Sexy" Melanie has a cute card for every occasion.

RachelPfefferDesigns

Rachel has considered herself a maker since 2007 when she began crafting duct tape purses in high school, before duct tape was even cool. Somehow that led her to carving little characters into bullets, which she called "bullet buddies" before she tapped into her real talent of jewelry making in 2009. I was really drawn to her style when I saw her "beholder onyx eye ear threads" but she also creates rings, necklaces, bracelets, hair ware and a few men's tie tacks/tie bars. If you'd like to check her designs out in person first, this new mama (congrats Rachel!) can be find IRL at the Arts Walk in Brookland.

CaribeCasualShop

For some reason, I'm more of a sucker for gorgeous pottery and furniture around the holidays, and this curated shop of "modernist objects and art by obscure or notable designers" is right up my alley. Run by two designer expats from Puerto Rico, the shop combines both of their passions: treasure hunting for hidden gems, and showcasing the finds in an aesthetically pleasing manner. The vibe is inspired by a kitschy collectibles store that existed in Puerto Rico's Condado area in the 60s. Plus, I feel like I've seen their items used in some of our local restaurants which only makes me want to buy the pieces even more.

Absynia

Elle likes to think of her shop as a destination for "the ornate, the original and the one of a kind" and I totally agree! Her bohemian designs are clearly inspired by global aesthetic with a heavy emphasis on "African diaspora and the cultures within." Elle was inspired to start creating her own jewelry after learning about the poor labor conditions suffered by those who are creating most of the fashion imported into the U.S. Elle couldn't bear to think that she was contributing to that work environment, and wanted to inspire others to return to loving hand crafted goods. Typically, there is only one of each piece you will see on Absynia, so if you see something you like grab it before its gone, and you'll always know your accessory is unique to you.

BrainWashington

Mid century modern has been having quite the moment, and rather than scour through Craigslist ads every weekend searching for the best finds, I prefer to scroll through the wares handpicked by Tarly of BrainWashington. From 1960s Japanese swivel candle holders to a 1950s walnut bench, if MCM is your vibe, this shop needs to be in your feed ASAP. Occasionally you'll even see a few vintage clothing scores, such as this rad 1970s Calvin Klein trucker denim jacket, or this 1950s PRINGLE Scotland for Burberrys cashmere sweater.

Handmadehabitat

We all know the holiday season can be a bit stressful (extended family visits, shopping and financial burdens), which is why I like to stock up on soothing scents and candles galore this time of year. And nothing gets me faster than pretty packaging and a product that is environmentally responsible. Artist Amina Ahmad knocks it out of the park on both fronts with her all-natural soy candles "Inspired by nature and rooted in mindfulness." She keeps the packing simple to highlight the "inherent beauty contained in each vessel, jar and tin." I'm a big fan of her roll on perfumes, and the "Breathe Freely" scent never fails to calm me down.

StitchandRivet

This is another brand that I have Crafty Bastards to thank for my obsession! Just this past weekend, I found myself coming back to the stall again and again, and reminding myself that I was supposed to be holiday shopping for others not myself. But the gorgeous hand-stitched bags are just too dreamy to pass up. And did I mention its a woman-run, woman-owned business? #ladyboss!The waxed canvas toiletry bag would be the perfect gift for any dapper dude in your life, and the leather clutches would be appreciated by the fashionista on your list. In case anyone out there is shopping for little old me, this two-toned crossbody bag is what keeps me coming back to StitchandRivet over and over again (just saying)! Katie Stack and her team of stitchers can also be found at the Arts Walk in Brookland.

JustinGrayDesign

This shop's offerings are minimal, but I can't get enough of the handcrafted table trays (I mean, they even have one with the DC Refined teal!) or the concrete eggshell bowls. Everything this shop is slinging just screams "Instagram me!" The designs are inspired by clean lines and sustainability, utilizing refurbished wood, recycled glass and high end concrete. The owners are also open to custom orders, so if you don't see exactly what you want, just reach out.

OakAndAle

This last store combines two of my greatest loves: chunky knits and delicate jewelry. This Fredericksburg, Va-based artist has been painting, knitting, and crafting for seven years, which led her to founding her online studio to have a place to feature her handcrafted creations. Each piece is very personal as Anacely says she is "extremely passionate about taking my thoughts and everyday experiences into something visual that everyone can be moved by." I'm a huge fan of the bow ear warmer headbands and the cowl scarves, along with the sanded stone rock necklaces.

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