Think Big, Shop Small The quest for the perfect gift


When the holiday season hits, the quest begins — an adventurous search for the perfect gifts, intended for those we love. We put our hearts and souls into finding that perfect gift, fantasizing about joyful screams like, “Oh my gosh! I love it so much!” 

Get creative

Many years ago, I found myself tired of the typical shopping drills, and I decided to turn gifts into experiences that had meaning beyond, “Mom, I really need some makeup and new jeans.” As a result, I’ve pulled together some pretty awesome touch points for weary gift-seekers that I’m glad I took the time to create.

Shop small

As movements such as Small Business Saturday and other shop-local campaigns have gained popularity, I’ve become more aware of spending my dollars where I live and supporting local businesses in my community. It gives a sense of pride to my purchases, and it makes me feel good to know who my dollars are going to.

Beyond the wrapping

The sky is the limit when it comes to gifts that don’t come in a pleasantly wrapped box: art classes, music lessons, show tickets, yoga classes, restaurant certificates and even cooking classes! While it might be easier to land in the cosmetic aisle at Target, it’s more fulfilling to give a handcrafted gift or experience that supports local businesses in the community.

Options galore

We’re fortunate in the Greater Lansing region to have lots of local options — there are tons of entrepreneurs, creatives and artists who have lovely, interesting shops and wares. There are so many area galleries and stores that carry locally made goods so I’ve put together a tiny list to get you started. Prepare yourself by doing further research, as some shops offer shopping parties that include tasty food and fancy beverages, including wine!

The Short List

Arts Night Out in Old Town is Nov. 3 and will feature area artists and live music. Tons of venues, handmade gifts and art, plus lots of eats and drinks for your enjoyment!

Lansing Art Gallery Holiday Exhibition will have artwork ranging from fine art to small gifts, including jewelry, paintings, pottery and more. The kick-off party is Nov. 10. Enjoy hors-d’oeuvres, cocktails from American Fifth Spirits and more.

Mackerel Sky Gallery of Contemporary Craft has ceramics, ornaments, artist-made greeting cards, menorahs and more. Plus, there’s a quilt exhibition and opening reception for quilting artist Carol Trojanowski on Dec. 3.

Great Lakes Artworks’ annual holiday open house is Nov. 3, 4 and 5, offering refreshments, sales and demos from GLA artists and crafters.

Mother & Earth Baby Boutique has American-made and locally-crafted items, including toys and stocking stuffers, plus certificates for classes such as Messy Monday, music and parent/child yoga.

Eggleston Gallery & Studio is offering 25 percent off selected artwork until Christmas.  For Van Frankenhuyzen fans, signed copies of his book, “The Skydiving Beavers,” will be available, plus art supplies, gifts and cards. 

The Party Shoppe, Michigan Lighthouse Art Gallery, and Peculiar Perspectives Studio & Gallery will present the Williamston Pop-Up Art & Craft Show on Nov. 25 and a special holiday-based show on Dec. 9.  The shows will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Keller’s Plaza.  

The Grove Gallery and Studios Holiday Gala is on Friday, Nov. 10 from 5-9 p.m., featuring unique gifts and one-of-a-kind ornaments, plus a delicious array of food and wine. The works of more than 30 Michigan artists will be featured in this very popular event! 

Old Town General Store has an amazing selection of Michigan-made gifts, foods, candies and toiletries. They also have fine wines and craft beers. Gift baskets are their specialty, and they will help you put one together.

More places for gifts and experiences

Katalyst Gallery, Elderly Instruments, Absolute Gallery, Saper Galleries, Ledge Craft Lane, Studio Retreat and Art Gallery, The Robin Theatre, Wharton Center for the Performing Arts, Lansing Symphony Orchestra and so many more! Put on your thinking creative thinking cap and explore on your quest for the perfect gift.


Dawn Gorman

Dawn Gorman is a writer, connector and creative who lives in Old Town, Lansing. She is the communications and events manager at the Arts Council of Greater Lansing and loves attending festivals and arts events. She jumps at any opportunity to talk about creative ideas.

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