Small Business Saturday

I think I am finally back on the right time schedule. That is the one downside of traveling. It messes with your internal clock and completely disrupts your routine.

I am also all caught up on all the pop culture I missed while away. Last night I watched the 50th anniversary Doctor Who special and today I saw Catching Fire. All is right with the world.

Today was small business Saturday. It along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the official start of the Christmas shopping season. Small business Saturday is supposed to be the better alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A beacon of light sandwiched between two days devoted to Walmart and Amazon.

My problem with small business Saturday? It still buys into and promotes the idea that the holiday season is all about gifts and stuff. Excessive consumerism is excessive consumerism, whether you buy a $20 faux leather purse at Target or a $500 handmade bag crafted from humanely-raised cow hide from a farm down the road. Yes, where we buy things matters and makes a social and economic difference. But “where did it come from?” shouldn’t be the first question we ask. Instead we should consider “Do I need it in the first place?”

Shopping locally shouldn’t be an activity relegated to one Saturday of holiday shopping each year. It should be something we all do on a regular basis. Supporting local businesses is how you grow an economy: from the ground up, not the White House down. Still, it is only the lesser of two evils when it comes to Christmas consumerism. After all, shopping at small businesses is still shopping

Perhaps this year, instead of toys and gadgets and clothes, we should all think about doing something more meaningful. For example, did you know there are charities out there that allow you to give farm animals to families in developing countries? These animals provide food and income. This helps the family and community break the cycle of poverty. You could spend $70 on stocking stuffers and cheap gadgets that no one will care about come February or you could drastically improve a family’s quality of life by gifting them a goat or a flock of chickens. Which is the better investment? The better bang for your buck, if you will?

Two top-rated organizations to consider are Kiva and Samaritan’s Purse. Both provide ways to give agricultural gifts to those in need around the world.

So this Christmas, don’t buy into the consumerism and materialism that world tells us is so vital to our existence. It isn’t the stuff that makes our lives meaningful; it’s the people. Spend less time shopping and more time with your friends and family. And come January when all the hype dies down, remember to keep shopping locally. It would make a great resolution for 2014!

2 thoughts on “Small Business Saturday

  1. Apologies for the long post…
    An aunt collects around $30 per person (on a volunteer basis) and donates it to a different cause each year in lieu of gifts. This year, my sister and I are putting what we’d spend on each other toward converting old home movies and slides as a gift for our parents (and posterity) and I’m getting them a couple of other things, so they know I’ve paid attention to their individual tastes – the thought DOES count – and because they’re luxuries they wouldn’t buy for themselves. I’m also needlepointing dish towels, matching the patterns to personalities or interests – thanks for the idea!

    I asked one year that my gifts be donations to a certain charity, but instead ended up with mostly things I really didn’t want or need. :\ Now I ask for specific restaurant gift cards, since eating out isn’t in my budget otherwise. Seems like sort of a wash though, if we’re all buying things for each other.

    Gift-giving can be so complicated. If you ask for charity donations, it can cause the giver to wonder if you’re accusing them of being materialistic or shallow if they don’t follow suit. Or they just may not want to donate to that particular cause. Spending more on one person than another can be hurtful if the lesser realizes it – same with you spending more/less than what someone spent on you. Personally, it would be a huge relief if we (my family) went without presents altogether and spent more time doing activities (games! 🙂 ) together with the TV off.

  2. Pingback: SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY | Wyebrook FarmWyebrook Farm

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