Last year around the holidays, I made a big deal about the importance of supporting independent artists and local small businesses. I recently posted on my facebook fan page about my intent to do the same this year. My goal is to promote independent artists and businesses (including my own).
One reason that I am so passionate about this is that your purchase from a big box store is really just a drop in the bucket of their profit margin; while your support of an independent artist actually has a powerful impact on the life of an individual! Buying handmade also benefits you and your intended recipient, in that you’re choosing to give something unique — which (at least in my book) is wonderful and special.
|“Y is for Yule” via http://www.etsy.com/shop/EmilyBalivet|
Another reason that I’m so vocal about this is that there were several years when the holidays were really really stressful for me. I made myself crazy and spent far more than I could afford, trying to make everything perfect — and by the time the holidays arrived I was uptight, angsty and disappointed. It occurred to me that the reason for this was that I had become a very well trained consumer — and in the process, I lost sight of the things that really make the holidays magical and special for me. Sappy as it sounds, those things are family, love, comfort, and taking time to relax and reflect on the year behind me. For the past 4 years I’ve made a concerted effort to focus on those aspects of the holidays, and it has made a tremendous difference in my stress level and satisfaction! I’d like to share that serenity with you.
Our consumer culture is so driven by the media push to “buy, buy buy” and to “act quickly!” and “don’t miss that super gonzo mega sale!” that we actually think that we have to do these things in order to express our love to our family and friends! Really, we don’t. Black Friday is a media construct and we can opt out, or at least seek meaningful alternatives. We can choose to do things with the folks we love and we can make things for them; if you’re not the crafty sort or you don’t have time to make things, then please consider doing your gift shopping with independent artists!
|Tree topper via http://www.etsy.com/shop/faeryspellcreations|
In the coming weeks I’ll showcase handmade items that I love, in the hopes that you’ll support these amazing artists too — or at least feel inspired to support other artists and small businesses. I’m also going to spotlight special treats that you can give or do for yourself, because self care is SO important this time of year! Hopefully, I can do this in a way that is tasteful and low key; it is not my intent to bombard you with more pressure to consume. I simply want to offer positive alternatives that I hope will help you to create a more serene and meaningful holiday season.