Top 5 Places to Shop Small in Jackson This Holiday Season

Top 5 Places to Shop Small in Jackson This Holiday Season

Grandma… Aunt Sue… Uncle Charles… A house-warming gift for the Millers…

As we all fill our ever-expanding shopping lists with people to buy for, consider avoiding the mall and the big box stores in favor of a calmer, more unique shopping experience. Shop Small Saturday, celebrated the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was created by American Express in 2010 to encourage people to support small local businesses. According to the Shop Small website, by 2014 shoppers embraced the day as a holiday shopping tradition by spending $14.3 billion at small independent business that day.

Jackson is my personal favorite Michigan town with several truly unique shops with gifts you won’t find anywhere else. This year’s Shop Small Saturday, you’ll find me at one of these great Jackson stores:

A Frame Above Holiday Window with Michigan Mittens
A Frame Above Holiday Window with Michigan Mittens | Photo Courtesy of A Frame Above

1. A Frame Above 
(517) 782-4880
180 W. Michigan Ave
Jackson, MI 49201

“We are doing a lot for Shop Small Saturday,” says Wendy Clifton, owner of A Frame Above. “We are giving away tickets to Nite Lites Jackson, free Hinkley’s donuts, free make-n-take kids ornaments and much more.” Pop a Shop Small Balloon to win a Jackson Downtown Development Authority gift certificate. Jackson blues favorite, Kevin Nichols will be playing from 11 AM – 1 PM. The store features many great Made in Michigan favorites including Michigan Mittens from Port Huron, Jenna Kantor handbags, a Michigan designer, and Michigan made and shaped wooden cutting boards.

As a Midtown Association of Jackson member, they will also be participating in the social media contest. To enter, take a selfie with the Shop Small logo in five different Jackson stores and post it using the hashtag  to be entered to win one of four $25 Jackson DDA gift certificates.

Beads to Live By Bead Selection
Beads to Live By Bead Selection | Photo Courtesy of Experience Jackson

2. Beads to Live By
(517) 962-8016
145 S. Mechanic St.
Jackson, MI 49201

Beads to Live By is a cute little bead store in the heart of downtown Jackson. This store has everything to enhance or start a beading or jewelry making hobby. They even host classes to teach you the latest trends. “If I had to choose one item to feature in our store this year it would have to be our kits,” says Beads owner Cassandra Spicer. “Whether someone were to grab one and make a finished piece for a loved one, or purchase a kit with the intention of giving it un-made to a crafty friend, it would be a great choice for the holidays.” On Shop Small Saturday, Beads to Live By will be hosting a special bead show; hundreds of handmade ceramic pendants and beads from an artist that is originally from the Jackson area.

Toy House & Baby Too Christmas Window
Toy House & Baby Too Christmas Window | Photo Courtesy of the Toy House

3. Toy House & Baby Too
(517) 787-4500
400 N Mechanic St.
Jackson, MI 49201

This Jackson institution is the largest independent toy store in the nation. Toy House and Baby Too has been a Jackson tradition since 1949. I know I had many fine memories shopping for everything from Girl Scouts uniforms to books to board games. The Toy House is huge in both size and selection! No store can match their incredible selection – over twice as many toys as most big box stores, including unique, hard-to-find treasures and high-quality educational toys. Shoppers travel from all over the Midwest to shop here. Family owned since the beginning, current owner Phil Wrzesinski is part of what makes the experience shopping at the Toy House so magical. They really do have the most friendly, knowledgeable staff and they let you play with the kid-friendly displays! The Toy House offers free gift wrapping year round and offers extended hours until 9 pm beginning Small Business Saturday through Dec. 23rd.

Anna's Gifts and Porch Cafe Holidays Display
Anna’s Gifts and Porch Cafe Holidays Display | Photo Courtesy of Anna’s Gifts

4. Anna’s Gifts & Porch Café
(517) 783-4191
401 N Mechanic St
Jackson, MI 49201

I’ve found some of the most unique gifts at Anna’s. Not to mention their delicious breakfast and lunch menu at the Porch Cafe. Speaking of which, I could really go for a Greek wrap with a cup of Tomato Soup… But back to shopping! Looking for an old timey sign with a quip about your friend’s wine consumption? They have it! Have a friend that’s really looking to redecorate? They have some of the coolest wall hangings and home decor. Have a culinary friend on your list? They have some really unique kitchen gadgets. At Anna’s, customers can always enjoy free gift wrapping too!

Wandering Owl Holiday Display
Wandering Owl Holiday Display | Photo Courtesy of Wandering Owl

5. Wandering Owl 
(517) 782-2780
139 N Jackson St.
Jackson, MI 49201

The Wandering Owl carries a unique blend of handmade local art, fair trade art from around the world, crystals, candles, books, jewelry, scents and more. You can find all kinds of gifts for the New Age Spiritual friend on your list. They also offer classes, tarot card readings and other spiritual meet ups. The Wandering Owl is a place where people of any spiritual path can find beautiful items. For Small Business Saturday, The Wandering Owl will be giving away Shop Small reusable shopping bags to customers (while supplies last) and a drawing for a free gift with any purchase of $10 or more including gift certificates.

I am the Communications Director for Experience Jackson. I manage the social media @ExperienceJxn, email newsletters, blogging and website content. I grew up in Jackson, Mich. and returned after attending college at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. When not working, I enjoy cooking and traveling, always looking for the next culinary or cultural adventure.