Shop at home! Web-based gifts for the holidays

The holiday season is officially here, so of course, that means that it’s time to start shopping. The crowds at the malls, the lines at the post office and of course, the craze of Black Friday — we’ve all been there before.

Want to avoid the stress? Get a head start on the holiday shopping online and avoid the madness. Shopping at any of these sites will result in a unique and thoughtful gift that you can purchase or enjoy from the quiet and comfort of your own home.

Child’s Own Studio — Custom Making Soft Toys With Children
Perfect for your favorite little artist, Child’s Own takes original drawings by children and creates the stuffed animal version. Send a picture or scan of your child’s drawing and watch the creations of their imagination come to life in the shape of a soft, adorable plush toy. Orders take from four to six weeks, but the gift that is created will literally be one-of-a-kind. www.childsown.com.

SHAPING UP — Help a loved one jump start their fitness plan with Your Daily Practice's pilates and yoga classes. photo courtesy of Your Daily Practice

Your Daily Practice — Pilates and Yoga with Francine
Here’s a gift that even your recipient can enjoy online. Francine Hernandez, a Body Arts and Science international-certified pilates instructor, gives instruction via webcam, so you can have a private pilates instruction from the comfort and privacy of your own home. All you need is a webcam and an Internet connection, so it is the perfect gift for anyone who just doesn’t have time to get to the gym. Francine also provides specialized instruction in pre and postnatal pilates, so this is also the perfect gift for any expecting or new mothers you may know. www.yourdailypractice.com.

Eatwild — Farms That Ship
Your gourmet loving friends and family will love this — fresh food shipped directly to them. Similar in concept to the popular produce box, these farms ship grass-fed meats, dairy and eggs instead. Look up your nearest farmers by state and give your favorite foodie the freshest cuts of meat from local, family-owned farms. Eatwild directly lists farmers that will ship their wares directly to you, organized by state, so you can hand-pick which farm you want to purchase from with a few clicks of the mouse. www.eatwild.com/products/farmsthatship.html.

Etsy.com — The World’s Handmade Marketplace
If you love arts and online shopping, you probably have already heard of Esty, but here are some sellers within the site that have fun gifts that your quirky friends will adore.

Listed by handle:
karenswimmer: Adorable, hand-knitted hats with a twist — attachable (and detachable) beards and mustaches!
GemSprouts: Tiny, living ecosystems that fit in the palm of your hand. For every purchase made, a donation is made to Conservation International.
vital: Hand screened pint glasses and old-fashioned glasses with modern prints. Check out their custom monogrammed glasses for your favorite beer drinker.
pumpkinandbutterfly: Custom Silhouettes — Send in a clear, profile photograph of a loved one and have a silhouette of them cut out in a fresh, pop-art style portrait.

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