For myself and many others across the globe, this holiday season will undoubtedly look different than in the past. The holidays are, for me, normally an excuse to binge-watch holiday movies, eat endless amounts of peppermint bark, and spend an unlimited amount of time decorating the house while blasting Mariah Carey’s greatest Christmas hits. With the recent loss of my Mother, my feeling of anticipation for the holidays has shifted, and I am left searching for a way to reconnect with my holiday cheer.
My mother and I were always the dynamic duo when it came to the holiday season. We would tag-team decorating the Christmas tree, shopping for gifts, and cooking our two biggest dinners of the year. It became our little tradition to do these tasks together and it was always something I looked forward to when I came back home. Although it is difficult to think of getting through Thanksgiving or Christmas without her physically here, I know she is with me spiritually and watching over me as I continue our traditions.
One way that I have rediscovered my holiday excitement is through shopping from Black-owned businesses. I have always made it a point to support them, especially those that are small and local, but this year I wanted to make it a priority to only add Black-owned products to my shopping lists. There are so many incredible businesses out there to support, and it has awakened my holiday spirit to discover new (at least new to me!) Black-owned brands. A few picks that are currently in my cart are the #DEARBLACKGIRL Moisture Kit from Belle Bar Organics, Black is Beautiful bucket hat from Savant Studios, and the Checker and Gradient Satin Pillowcases from Flex Factory.
Another way I have been finding joy for the holidays is through connecting with my peers within the fashion community. There is nothing like the kinship of community to remind you of what truly matters this holiday season. Below, 7 tastemakers of the fashion community on what Black-owned items they are buying and why, in hopes of inspiring you to do the same.
Alexander-Julian Gibbson, Fashion/Travel Editor and Stylist
There are multiple viable markers of support, but as great as emotional and moral support can be, nothing reigns more supreme than financial in a world run by money. Using my dollar to support these brands is the best way to celebrate the creativity, tenacity, and ingenuity of these Black-owned companies’ owners. Creating an environment where they can thrive creates a world where younger people of color can aspire to thrive and innovate too.
Becky Akinyode, Stylist and Creative Consultant
Christmas means a moment for me to be with my family. I get so sentimental and like to reflect on the past year. This year has truly been one for books, but it’s still important for me to count my blessings and be hopeful for what’s to come. I think it’s important to support Black-owned businesses because systemic racism makes it hard for us to succeed, and there’s nothing I love more than seeing Black people thriving. It’s a beautiful thing and I try to do my part to support that in any way I can.
Mario Horne, Creative Director and Consultant
During the holiday season, I make an effort to invest my time and energy into creating life-long memories that bring genuine happiness to the ones I love the most. This time of year reminds me just how fortunate and thankful I am to not only feel the emotion of love, but to know that I am loved.
Honestly, I support Black-owned businesses year round! It’s literally without consciously thinking. Whether it’s a product or service, it’s almost like ‘we see each other’. It’s the feeling, passion, and creativity that speaks to my soul and makes me feel as if ‘this is the one’.
Mecca James-Williams, Stylist and Creative
The holiday season to me means community, connection, and celebration. Black-owned businesses are just that to me. They are the community of creatives, entrepreneurs, and artists that create connections to my lineage, culture, and inspiration. To celebrate them daily and uplift them during the holidays is truly the best gift I could give myself or anyone this year.
Jorge Gitoo Wright, Casting Agent and Producer
To me the holidays means being with loved ones and connecting to the people that mean the most to you. Although the world can’t particularly do that right now, I think it just makes the other parts of the holidays like gift giving so much more special and important
I am choosing to support Black business because one, I’m Black, and two, I’m proud!
Shelby Ivey-Christie, Fashion Historian
My platform is dedicated to championing Black contributions to fashion, which means I regularly purchase Black designer pieces and support Black-owned businesses. This is a subject close to my heart. I recently partnered with Facebook on their #BuyBlack Friday initiative to amplify the importance of buying Black. If we are in a position to give gifts this holiday season, I think we should prioritize buying Black where it is feasible.
40% of Black-owned businesses have closed permanently this year, in the wake of COVID. So it is an urgent matter to support Black-owned businesses. Understanding that more than 6 million Americans are currently unemployed, many may not have the means to patronize Black-owned businesses monetarily. However, support can also be amplifying Black-owned businesses on social media or sharing about them within our communities.
Shibon Kennedy, Director, Fashion Editor and Stylist
While I do love to give gifts (and I do take pride in being quite good at it), holidays ultimately for me are not about the material but rather about the emotion and the reflection. The holidays are when we all start to slow down and wrap up the year. It’s a time where I, of course, get quite nostalgic for years past, but I also really use that time to contemplate those in my current life, my personal growth that has lead me to the place in which I stand, appreciating the journey that got me here (even in the Tsunami of 2020) and expressing thankfulness and gratitude for it all. It’s all part of the journey!
Gifts can be an extension of all of that, but I also don’t necessarily think everyone needs to go out and buy something. Whether giving or receiving, I find the most joy in that which is handmade. Not to mention, I custom create ALL my wrapping paper every year. Always a hit! Handmade tends to feel the most heartfelt and sentimental of all the gifts, so I treasure those items most.
HOWEVER, in buying Black here are some of my favorites at the moment.