This holiday season you can make a terrific and positive impact on the state of the economy by how make your present purchases. Doing so will help turn this country back in the absolute right direction and set a new standard of living and gifting that sits well atop your lofty goals of living life well.
I know, it seems easy to do a one-stop shopping trip to the Big Stores and tick things off your list with what look like inexpensive prices. You park in ginormous parking lots around warehouse looking buildings staffed by underpaid, deflated or otherwise unsupported even just seasonal employees. These folks are charged with facilitating your purchase of cheaply, questionably sourced goods that got to the US in bloated plastic blister packs jammed into shipping containers. Most of these selections end up in crummy garage sales in a couple of years anyway. All that just doesn’t feel as good as presenting a gem of trinket that may even become a treasure or family heirloom you discovered in a shop or at a place where you actually got to connect with who made it!
Money Walks the Walk Too!
So with this in mind, here’s a list for you to consider when assembling your must-buy lists for holiday gifting.
- Make it Yourself
- Buy Local
- Shop Regionally
- Buy Nationally + Ethically
- International fair trade
- international small business
1. Make it Yourself Almost everyone loves homemade stuff. So if you have a craving to play with appealing arts and crafts media then by all means have at it! You will be upcycling all the materials you’ll be using and what you produce is going to be super local and 100% American-made! Yay YOU!
- • crafts
- • canned goods
- • baked good
- • art
- • certificates, coupons, promissory notes
2. Buy Local Wherever you are, you are surrounded by tons of amazing and super talented makers of things! Artists, craftspeople, artisans, and other creatives have explored ways to turn stuff into collectibles, heirloom objects and other wondrous, unique objects d’arts. You can find their pieces at holiday bazaars and sales, craft and specialty shows and in local stores that open themselves up to the finely crafted, one of a kind items.
- • church sales
- • school bazaars
- • scouts’ sales (wreathes, wrapping paper et al)
- • craft sales
- • art and studio events
- • mom and pop businesses
- • tickets to up coming community theatre and other cultural arts events
If you’re in Lexington, KY – there’s an awesome First Annual Juried Fine Art + Craft show coming up this weekend! More info. Then on December 10 & 11 there’s another 1st Annual Art on the Farm sale in rural Woodford County at an amazingly gorgeous farm, more info here!
3. Shop Regionally If you can’t get what you’re looking for from a local source then expand the search out a layer – don’t give up and go somewhere you’ll need a shopping cart just yet. You can search for stuff using Google and limit the results by state for example. Or you could hop in the jalopy and head over to the nearest metro area and have a look in their local-focused specialty shops. This is a fine idea because it usually means you get to gift yourself a nice lunch out and see a bunch of things you otherwise wouldn’t have discovered any other way.
- • museum gift shops
- • art and craft stores
- • grocer’s local offerings shelves
- • cultural events etc…..
4. Buy Nationally + Ethically So, ok, no one has what you want anywhere close to you – so look nationally, but look in smart places. Hello Etsy.com! (http://www.etsy.com) This website highlights the art and craft of people nationally – even worldwide. They’re all there representing themselves, this isn’t a conglomeration of middlemen, these are all individuals with great work they’re offering for sale directly to you! This also could include uying from stores or web sites or brands that stand for stuff you believe in and treat their employees well enough for them to make decent livings. Reward that behavior! Buy from them! (My Etsy shop is here.)
Might consider highlighting stuff that’s:
- • upcycled
- • recycled
- • hand made
- • sustainable created
5. International fair trade So what if you have a sort of exotic want – what then? Look for websites and stores that specialize in international imports that are based in the concept of fair trade! These exist and they are awesome! At Overstock.com they have a section they call Worldstock Fair Trade it’s really a nice way to work through a big guy to reach the little guys. http://www.overstock.com/26549/static.html
Might highlight choices that are good for the local community from which the items originate however YOU define that.
6. International small business As a last resort choose International small or boutique businesses that hold to a value system you agree with. Just like shopping Nationally and Ethically above nationally – hold them to a high standard or move on.
When you make conscientious choices rather than allow yourself to be bombarded with clever marketing maneuvers everyone benefits in subtle and sublime ways.
Final Notes: Please be aware that when a store suggests (screams at you) that midnight is an awesome time to coup “Big Savings” that you’re being manipulated by retail specialists who delight in creating a false sense of urgency.
I kind of threw this together so I would LOVE to hear your thoughts, comment and your own shopping plans and philosophies!