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?
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!