That time of year is approaching. Carols (and hams) abound as we rejoice over our Savior’s birth (three months early). The air is thick with peace, love, and joy, as we all remember what’s really important.
That doesn’t seem quite right.
I’m sure many of you have heard of plenty of alternatives to this kind of capitalistic, materialistic madness. I particularly like Advent Conspiracy. If you’re not big on gifts, this (and other such organizations) is a great way to turn Christmas around.
But me? I kinda like getting gifts. Maybe I’m selfish. Maybe I don’t have the right frame of mind. Maybe I just need a little more reverence. But there are so few times during the year (basically two) where I can justify asking for things that aren’t immediate needs. Where I feel okay tearing into brand-new books and CDs and wearing clothing I don’t necessarily need but kinda do and would really like to have.
If you’re like me, things like Advent Conspiracy can make you feel like a jerk for still wanting things, for not being happy having your entire Christmas gift given to people who need it a lot more than you do. But take heart! There is still hope for us yet.
This year, my husband and I are trying something new. We’re doing a sustainable Christmas.
What’s that, you say? It’s this lovely idea we had that, instead of going out on Black Friday and putting our money into the hands to mega-corporations who have little concern for workers’ rights or environmental justice, we’re going to only give sustainable gifts. That means we’re getting our books, DVDs, and CDs from local used bookstores. We’re buying our clothing and home goods from thrift stores that benefit local charities. We’re handcrafting many of our other gifts, from decorative pillows to maple toffee syrup. We’re trying to use our money to benefit our community and to give gifts that can’t be bought at any given Target.
And we’d love it if you would join us.
- Check local thrift stores, boutiques, booksellers, and the like for specific items.
- Visit craft and artisan fairs for unique gifts whose proceeds go directly to the people who made them.
- Utilize websites like craftgawker for ideas for making your own gifts.
- Take a look at all the marvelous shops on Etsy, if you’re not of the crafting persuasion.
- Consider giving baked or canned goods–this one usually saves you a good deal of money, as well as being quite tasty.
- Participate in Small Business Saturday.
…and do anything else that supports your community, artisans, and small business owners. Make sure your money lands somewhere better than in some mega-corporation’s CEO’s bank account.
To give you a hand in this, I’ll be deviating from the normal topic of this blog for the next six weeks to give you a how-to on many of the gifts I’m making this year. Additionally, I’ll provide links to places where you can buy similar items if you don’t have the time or ability to make them. I’d love your additions, too–if you’re creating anything this holiday season, whether gifts, decor, foodstuffs, or anything else, drop me a line and I’d be happy to feature it in this series.
Merry (sustainable) Christmas!