Holidays, weddings, birthdays and other special occasions can be less stressful for shoppers who know about local places that sell unique and homemade gifts. Artists and crafters who produce handmade crafts, upcycled, recycled and repurposed items know that these one-of-a-kind pieces show personality. Local shop owners who sell such items understand that this type of gift cannot be found at chain stores with items made by machines producing uniformity. The person who receives one of these gifts will be delighted to know that they will never find an exact replica.

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Salt of the Earth
8150 Big Bend Blvd.
Webster Groves, MO 63119
(314) 963-8989

For 12 years, Salt of the Earth has sold homemade items from Europe and Mexico. The owners, Michael and Robin Lynch, decided to open the store after traveling in Mexico and discovering items that did not exist in the Midwest. Within a few years, their product line expanded to include items from Italy, France and occasionally other parts of Europe. Shoppers are guided through the store by signs that include a picture and biography about the artist. This guidance gives buyers the background about the piece prior to the purchase, and also creates a sense of connection to the items they buy.

Related: Father’s Day Gift Buying Guide

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Componere Gallery of Art
6509 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 721-1181

This upscale gallery not only looks impressive, but also contains fascinating artwork. The shop owner has experienced artwork in many cultures through her extensive travel and brings that knowledge and keen eye to her shop. The gallery contains items such as paintings, jewelry, sculptures made of varying materials and other home decor. Monthly exhibits of outstanding featured selections showcase artists’ work from near and far locations. This shop is highly recommended for the buyer who is looking for exceptional home decor and artwork.

Photo Credit: Craft Alliance via Facebook

Craft Alliance
6640 Delmar Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 725-1177

The Delmar Loop has long attracted creative souls, but there is one shop that allows both the creative and creative-seeking to purchase handmade items. The Craft Alliance sells jewelry and artwork designed and made by local artists. Every few months the Craft Alliance hosts a new exhibition, so there’s always something new to discover. For someone who wants to give a gift in which he or she personally created, studio time and classes may be purchased. Gift-makers should first explore the gallery for creative inspiration.

Related: Best Thrift Stores & Flea Markets in St. Louis

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Belleville Flea Market
200 South Belt East
Belleville, IL 62220
(618) 233-0052

Hours: Sat to Sun – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 3rd full weekend of each month

From homemade foods to hand-carved wooden pens, handmade items are for sale to anyone who is willing to take a walk around this large flea market. The vendors change each month, but there is always a large selection at the Belleville Flea Market. Homemade items found at previous events have included: soaps, jewelry, re-purposed and up cycled vintage linens and lace items, candles, hand-carved pens, hair accessories, purses, scarves, toys and food. The flea market consists of indoor, outdoor and barn spaces to explore for homemade items in addition to antiques, collectibles and other gifts.

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Plowsharing Crafts
6271 Delmar (University City Loop)
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 863-3723

This St. Louis shop began in 1985 as a way for volunteers to help artisans in third world countries market their artwork, and quickly grew into a coveted business. The shop has now expanded from its original location in the University City Loop to a second one in Kirkwood. Today, Plowsharing Crafts works with over a dozen Fair Trade organizations, including North America’s largest, Ten Thousand Villages, to provide the St. Louis area with one-of-a-kind crafts from around the globe.  Find gifts, accessories, jewelry, toys, books and  music, tea and coffee from around the globe. Those who like to shop with purpose will love giving gifts that are made from recycled and sustainable materials. As the saying goes, it is better to give than to receive, and shopping at Plowsharing Crafts not only allows you to give a unique gift to a loved one, but also ensures your purchase is helping to alleviate poverty, promote fair trade and end child labor.

Holly Fox has been writing a variety of fiction, non-fiction and journalistic pieces since she was old enough to spell. She has a Journalism and Mass Communication degree from The University of Iowa as well as a graduate degree in Communications Management from Webster University. Her work can be found at