Friday, November 18, 2011

Go local to lose the holiday loco

I’m not sure how it can be November already, and already everywhere I turn I see the glossy Christmas ads and hear about Black Friday.
            If you know anything about me, you can probably guess that I’m not a fan of Black Friday and in fact refuse to shop on that day. From my eco-friendly perspective, the extreme consume-consume-consume mentality that our culture fosters leaves in its wake a tremendous amount of waste.  After Christmas, garbage cans will overflow with wrapping, with boxes, with plastic shrinkwrap, and the discards that are ‘so last year.’       
            Will anyone be the happier for it? 
            There is also that ‘waste’ that is less obvious—the time spent driving to and from the stores, the gas used to get there, the time spent looking and in line, and likely a huge amount of money spent on things that aren’t wanted or needed.
            I don’t like a lot of stuff, and clutter makes me twitchy. However, I live in a house with five other people, so I have had to learn to deal somewhat. More ‘stuff’ to deal with = not fun for Mom. Last year we got our kids art lessons, along with a few clothes and a few toys and books.
It was a great balance. No one was overwhelmed by heaps of stuff, we paid cash all the way, and we supported local businesses.  And of course, I recycled all the packaging and wrapping (I use newspaper, kraft paper and aluminum foil. I also like to use cute fabric bags—even better!).
            This year I plan to do the same. It’s a conscious decision to turn away from the marketing, from the greedy culture that always wants the next big thing. I’ll shop the independent stores, eat at the independent restaurants, and support the local artisans. They are numerous here in and around our town, and as an independent artist myself I was so grateful that people bought gifts from me. I can’t think of a better way to spend my holiday dollars.

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