You're welcome ahead of time for the dose of joy you'll get from following the recommendations included below. It's always a great idea to support local artists and businesses when doing your holiday shopping, but Occupy Wall St! seems to be inspiring more people to raise a banner (both literally and metaphorically) to pay more attention to individuals in the community.
It's funny. We live in a country that seems to sell "individuality". We put so much importance on individuality and "being ourselves" yet rush to stores to buy things that are exactly the same thing everyone else has. How unique is that? I invite you to accept the challenge to buy at least one item from a local business or creative this season.
Louisville has an amazing and diverse creative scene full of artists and other creators with affordable products for sale that make great gifts and/or stocking stuffers. There are also still locally owned hardware, paint, furniture, electronic shops and design studios. How about local and more personalized gyms or personal trainers? In addition to that, there are some great events that offer the chance to support local artists and businesses. Many of these items are made in small runs or are one of a kind. I feel sorry for the people who don't know that there are ways to enjoy festive events and shop at the same time, making lifelong memories. You can make a family event out of finding entertainment and shopping all in one swoop! I've listed some of my recommendations below.
This list is far from being all-encompassing. I have been supremely blessed with the acquaintance of many talented artists and business owners in our fine city. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments! I encourage you to seek out more local artists and businesses this season to really add to the bliss that comes with gift giving. Invest financially AND emotionally in your gift giving this season. It's like a four-way gift. You'll be gifting the artist or local business, gifting your loved one, and gifting our city by supporting our local economy. (In some cases you may be also gifting a non-profit). As if that's not enough, you'll be gifting yourself with the good feelings and the "come around" of keeping money local. It is your city after all.
Michael Gaither: A ceramic artist from Fort Knox, Kentucky. His work is functional and beautiful. There is a certain quaintness to his work and the pieces are affordable
beginning at just $12. His ceramic whistles in the shape of a variety of animals are of particular interest. In a digital age, he produces pieces that inspire imagination and admiration.
These would make great treasures to put into your children's stockings. His next show will be December 10 at the Bard's Town from 4 to 8 p.m.
Kenn Parks: His abstract paintings are vibrant and full of passion. His prices are affordable as well beginning at just $40. That is extremely fair for an international artist with his appeal. You can find his work at his solo exhibit at The Bodega at Felice . His work adds a creative flair to any home.
Tader Heads Crochet - This is some of the most adorable crochet work I've ever seen,  specializing in winter hats. Most of their hats are for children and showcase a variety of lovable critters, creatures, and colors. The fun of these hats also help children keep track of them. Show your tader head how much you love them by giving them a well made gift of warmth.
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Writers and Poets:
Sheri Wright: A local poet nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she has five books available. She has an array of interesting titles like "Nuns Shooting Guns" starting at just $7.
You can find them at Carmichaels or www.scribblingsandsuch.com 
Jimmy Besseck: This "every day" poet has a delightful collection called The Lead Standard available at Carmichaels. These are flowery expressions of love or other
poetry that some might call "boring". These are humorous observations that elicit laughter and cheers from both dive bar patrons and poetry event intellectuals alike.
Sara Havens: The local LEO managing and arts editor is also known as the Bar Belle for her columns covering nightlife in Louisville. She recently published her collection of columns, which can be found at Carmichael's. This is a great gift for the nightlife lovers in your family.
Troubadours of Divine Bliss: These lovely ladies have such a playful presence and lift up everyone who hears them. They are also huge contributors to our community. The are the founders of local non-profit A Mighty Kindness, which brings together artists, musicians, local farmers and local business. Buy their albums at ww.troubadoursofdivinebliss.com  or catch them
most Sunday nights at the Monkey Wrench  at 8 p.m.
Big Poppa Stampley: You can find this soulful man's albums at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bigpoppastampley . His music is a mix of Carribbean, jazz and blues that he calls Caribloujazz. His music will be a delight to anyone that likes these genres.
Truth B. Told: You can find this nationally touring powerhouse of spoken word's mp3's online at www.truthbtoldmusic.bandcamp.com . These are a great gift for hip hop fans or truth seekers. I also highly recommend him for young adolescent ears in need of positive messages.
He is a force to behold and has been featured on a national KFC commercial, a BET college tour, and has won an array of awards. You can pick up a hard copy on December 10 at the Bard's Town.I think some of his albums would make a great gift for Angel Tree recipients.
Bardstown Road Aglow - This event has been going on since 1985 and is always the first Saturday in December. Local businesses along Bardstown Road offer sales, treats and entertainment while giving shoppers a chance to enjoy a creative Saturday night while Christmas shopping. It is December 2 from dusk until 10 p.m. Visit their site at www.thehighlandsoflouisville.com  Doesn't that sound much more enjoyable than the mad craziness of Black Friday?
Under $50 art show - Liberty Tattoo and Art Parlour offers a great chance to pick up art for under $50, support local artists, and contribute funds to the Center for Women and Families. You can even drop off food donations for a local food bank.
Regift Swap Meet and Art Sale - Low on funds? Bring a work of art or a new or gently used item to set on the swap table, and take one from it to use for a gift. There will also be some local artists with items under $50 for sale and entertainment from a variety of performers. The event runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m on Saturday, December 10 and is sponsored by The Great Escape Comic Books and Records.
Great Escape Comic Book and Records: This store has all kinds of great gift items! It's quaint atmosphere is stuffed full of comic books, books, used movies and albums, CDS, gaming needs,
pop culture gifts including posters, clothes, buttons, magnets, and more! They are on Bardstown Road across from the Highland Krogers and have been in Louisville for more than 30 years!
They have popular collectibles like Star Wars and Transformers starting at just $3.
Preston Arts Center - This one stop shop for artists is located in Gardiner Lane Shopping Center on Bardstown Rd across from Sullivan College. It is a great contribution to our community, offering free workshops by different artists every Saturday afternoon that anyone can attend. They not only offer an inspiring atmosphere, they put ten percent of your purchase back into an account for you so you can spend it next time you come in. Your creative cuties would love a gift from this shop or a gift certificate. They carry stocking stuffing items, supplies, portfolios and protectors, as well as furniture like drawing desks and easels.
Tickled Pink Memorabilia Mall - This is my absolutely favorite store in Louisville. I really really had to debate on whether or not to share this gem. It is a great place to find trinkets, collectibles, antiques, toys, books, and all around interesting items at a great price. It is run by beautiful people. They don't mark their prices up based on "collectibility". It is 3269 Taylor Blvd. Tell them I sent you. Tell them how happy they make me. Make sure you don't take all the treasures. I still have to make my annual holiday trip over there.
Underground Sounds - They have a great variety of records and CDS. Visitors often comment that Craig's knowledge of music is immeasurable and they love learning from him in addition to receiving recommendations on other things to look out for. He will also special order hard to find items. They are located at 2003 Highland Ave.
Matrix: A place of change: This metaphysical shop at 1050 Bardstown Rd is full of small items that would be great for stockings. It has gemstones, crystals, journals, a variety of books, herbs, and incenses/resins. You can easily find something for under $5 to pop into a stocking. In addition to supporting a local business, you'll be supporting a woman who has her hand in a lot of local charitable endeavors as well such as offering a free Thanksgiving buffet open to anyone every year.
Wild and Woolly Video  - Don't miss this long time Highlands Gem. They have a variety of collections and "hard to find" videos sure to please your beloved film buffs. THey
also have gift certificates and are comparable in price to the Redbox, considering they have real live people with great wealths of knowledge to assist you or make recommendations.
Heine Bros. Coffee - This local business is also responsible for the non-profit "Fifteen Thousand Farmers " and collecting shoes for the EDGE outreach. They have a variety of coffees and products including gift certificates.
In addition to their non-profit endeavors, they have been great purveyors of community by often sponsoring local events, artists and other individuals.