...and I don't mean Thanksgiving and Christmas, tho' they are, too.
I'm thinking about Buy Nothing Day (November 26) and Small Business Saturday (November 27).
Buy Nothing Day (BND) has been an event in my life for about as long as it's been going on (maybe longer, as I despise crowds and almost as much as that, I dislike spending a ton on *stuff* that very few people need). I think the most I've ever bought on BND has been emergency cat food.
This year's Small Business Saturday is an event I can totally get behind. I'm trying very hard to buy smaller, buy local, and give handmade as much as humanly possible. My focus this year in my gift giving will have much more reliance on supporting the small businesses in my town as well as the small crafters on Etsy (and yes, I, (Nana Sadie Rose, am one).
I'm interested in any purchase that supports:
1. my local arts community (handcrafted items and concert tickets)
2. the small businesses on our City Market: our huge Market Square Building has been closed for renovations that will take a long time to do - many of the small businesses that were housed there have relocated to other spots along the Market area (some just folded - sob!). Traffic is being re-directed around the building and it's not much fun to navigate. The upshot of that is that many folks are not going downtown they way they used to. But I will!
3. food entrepreneurs - locally grown, locally baked
4. Gift Certificates for services: yoga classes, massages, haircuts, and such.
Then, at the next level of gifting, I'm doing a Handmade Holiday:
5. handcrafted items on etsy
6. handcrafted items I create myself
7. handcrafted items from my local craft shows
Finally, for those family and friends farther away:
8. contributions of cash to groups that do good - in the local community. My hope is that Americans realize that for all our generousity to the people of countries afar, we have serious concerns in our own hometowns that need addressing (and need funding). Most folks are still feeling pinched, so contributions to nonprofits are down (yes, I work for one), and the corporations and governments that used to help fund these groups have had to cut back on their giving/funding, as well. If you have a group in your area that does good and has the need, consider a gift in the name of someone you care about. That nonprofit will send a thank-you to your honoree on your behalf. And your honoree won't have to figure out what to do with the *stuff* you gift...(yes, we all have that happen once in awhile, eh?)
I know folks like to use the big charities - and I won't say don't, do what works for you, but do take a moment to think about your local humane society, homeless shelter, domestic violence shelter, food bank, art museum, or opera company and symphony. Perhaps they have a greater need than the bigger groups at least during this time of economic distress.
Lastly? On Buy Nothing Day? Why not take the time to de-stuff your closets? And donate to a local organization that helps provide for folks just starting over, those who've lost everything due to natural or economic disaster?
Because after all, do we really need everything we've got? Isn't a bunch of it just "STUFF?"
And isn't this time of year about so much more?