Alright, so, in all honesty, this feels a little late to be writing up one of these, however better now then, say… next week… right? ;)
These are my rules and suggestions for holiday shopping…
How to Shop
Shop Small, keep it Minimal. Don't go overboard and spend a sh*t ton of money--especially if money is tight. It's the Thought of the gift that matters, remember? Remember?!
Next, think before you buy. How many gifts can you think of that you receive that you don't end up using? You know the little stocking stuffers… not to say these can't be Awesome!… just be sure to put real thought into the gifts instead of going crazy spending everywhere you go is all I'm saying. ;)
Tight budget? Skip the presents altogether orrrrr agree to all make the gifts yourselves. This doesn't mean crappy gifts, it means gifts with real thought and attention to them. (think the Friends episode when Chandler and Monica make each other their valentine's gifts ;)). If you still want to do something special for the holidays but are forgoing the presents, then, more precious than physical gifts, how about making a plan to do something as a family that you'll remember forever? :)
So, if you Are indeed buying presents this year let's pay closet attention to the ethics of what you are buying.
Is it environmentally friendly, and/or made from renewable materials? Is it packaged in layers and layers of plastic? Is it fair-trade? Is it made by some greedy heartless corporation that treats their employees and the environment like doodoo?
Just take a moment before you buy, and really consider if there are better options.
Also, think about how you're wrapping presents. All that wrapping paper just ends up in the garbage or being recycled, all to be wrapped for one present for one day. Get creative, wrap your presents in newspaper or cereal boxes, or whatever you can reuse! This doesn't mean you can't still make them look pretty! There are a ton of cute DIY ideas out there, so get eco and have fun with it! :)
One more thing… Food!! Try to eat locally as well, eat Real food, be ethical in this area as well. Even try a vegan christmas! ;)
Where to Shop
Alright, so now it's shopping time!
First and foremost; support Local, independent Artists, Designers, and Crafters! Why? It's better for the economy, you're supporting small business instead of heartless corporations, you're putting money back into the community, it's more environmentally friendly, you're more likely to get friendlier customer service, and you'll make an artist very very happy. ;)
If you can't find what you're looking for at the local craft shows then these are where I turn to next…
Handmade! I, personally, almost always choose handmade handmade handmade. Maybe it's because I'm an artist myself and know lots of artist friends making a living off their amazing handmade talents, but handmade is the bestest! Again, you're not supporting some heartless corporation, you're buying something instead that is authentic, unique, and made with care and love and genuine creativity, and you're putting money back to the individual. Power to the people! Yayy!
Check out sites like etsy, artfire, and storenvy.
My other suggestion is to support Local people-owned stores in your area. Sure the internet is full of vast products and sites, and, well, heartless corporations… so put your money instead into supporting local shops and stores. Op against the chain stores and instead the stores that you know are locally owned, who actually profit from the business and aren't just paid minimum wage while the money goes to corporations. Most of these smaller stores are more likely to carry quality products as well that aren't going to fall apart. And the bottom line is that it's always better to support local, keeping the love and money in the community and supporting your fellow local peeps!
Lastly, when all of those fail, these are some online stores that I like to turn to because you're still supporting a good cause and these stores tend to carry good quality, smaller-run company products that, at the very least, have better ethics and standards, plus you can score some awesome deals. ;)
Ethical Ocean, Veganessentials, Karmavore (visit the shop in person if you're in Vancouver, it's fantastic!), Vegan Cuts, Pure Citizen.
Or donate to a local charity or make a World WildlifeFund adoption (one of my favourites!), or Farm Sanctuary adoption, or spend some time volunteering at your local animal shelter or food bank.
So that's that. Where do you like to shop? What are you doing this holiday season? How do you holiday shop?
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