For me it's an easy choice... but mostly because of my budget. I'm supporting my family and kids. And I'd like to ask you to do the same. Support your own family and kids first, and then your friends, and then locals you don't know. Or, y'know, my family and kids... *grins and winks*
Don't support the big names. Don't support the corporations.
Do support the little guy. Do support your local (or not-so-local) small businesses and artisan crafters. Your purchases have much more immediate and important impact on these people. Your purchase affects an individual, a husband and wife (or varied permutations thereof), their (possible) kids, et cetera. Your purchase directly impacts how good their kids' Christmas will be. Your purchase will directly affect that business's tax season coming up in a few months, their rent this month, whether they can give their employees Christmas bonuses... you get the idea.
Make a difference. Buy local/small business/artisan craft. For example... yeah, maybe a necklace from me will cost you a bit more than that $5 shiny from Claire's... but your purchase of my handmade necklace might just buy a Christmas tree for my family, or a couple tanks of gas to get Dragon to work and back so he can buy presents for the kids, or it can go towards a couple of tables and displays so we can start doing local craft shows, or...
To this end, our friend Mr. Marsten has put together a holiday catalog of links to artisan crafters, including us, for your perusal. So go peruse The Narrator's Study Holiday Catalog for great gift ideas that support individuals and families directly. Or, if you happen to be an artisan crafter who hasn't been in touch with Mr. Marsten, send him the link to your wares so he can add it to his catalog.
Love, Light, and Blessings to you and yours this holiday season!
Merry Christmas, Blessed Yule, Happy Hogmany...
-your Artful White Fox