Well, here we are, the day after Thanksgiving.
Now that the feast is over, my thoughts, like everyone else’s, look ahead to the next holiday. Christmas season is upon us and today is the kick-off.
Are you observing Buy Nothing Day? I admit to taking part in Buy Nothing Day these last few years, not so much as a stand against rampant consumerism, but a refusal to allow marketing to steer my buying habits. Tell me I HAVE to shop today (at 4 a.m., no less) to get the best deals, and I’ll decide to spend the day in the library. That’s just how I am. Contrary. A pain in the butt, depending on who you ask.
A nice way to spend non-consumer hours today would be to take part in StoryCorps National Day of Listening:
“This holiday season, ask the people around you about their lives — it could be your grandmother, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood. By listening to their stories, you will be telling them that they matter and they won’t ever be forgotten. It may be the most meaningful time you spend this year.”
The website provides a Do-It-Yourself Guide to help you along and an option to share the stories you hear.
I’ve written about how distressing it is to try and remember your family’s stories when there is no one left to ask. I wholeheartedly support this campaign to encourage families to record their oral history. These are the building blocks of who you are, and trust me, when you don’t have them you feel their absence.
I think a lovely gift idea would be to:
- interview many family members on a similar subject or ask them all a specific set of questions;
- photograph each person or scan a childhood picture of each;
- have a book made via Snapfish or a similar company (click here to find out how to get a FREE photobook if you act by November 30),
- and give out copies to all family members. A who’s who or family textbook.
If you are planning to take advantage of the sales today and do your part to help businesses get back in the black, have you set guidelines for your shopping beyond budgetary ones?
Have you challenged yourself to cut the plastic out of your holiday?
This year I will:
- make many gifts, as I generally do anyway.
- buy from local artists.
- stick to my budget.
- try to give gifts that are experiences instead of clutter.
- makes donations in the names of people who will appreciate that sort of gift.
- look for gifts that are useful, and whenever possible, plastic free.
- support small and local businesses.
- seek out companies whose practices I support, and who contribute to causes I support.
- do the majority of my shopping online, so that I’m not driving from place to place; and shop through Ebates to get cash back (more about Ebates later today)
- not allow the shopping to be the focus of my holiday season.
I’ll be posting handmade gift ideas here over the next few weeks, as well as eco-friendly or money-saving gifts I come across.
I’ll try to gather them into reasonable lists so that I’m not posting a billion times a day.
I do think it’s important to remember, this is make-or-break time for a lot of retailers, and every dollar we spend is a vote. What and who do you want your dollars to support? It’s not worth pinching every penny to me if only Wal-mart and Target benefit.
Is your approach to shopping different this year than in previous years?
What changes are you making?