Wednesday, November 28, 2007

feelgood holiday shopping

Almost December.

I am taking a break from freaking out about the impending end of the semester to indulge in some holiday consumerism.

Okay, so not quite. The stupid conscience is at it again. True, on this year's "Buy Nothing Day" (i.e. Black Friday) I was at my in-laws' in West Virginia, several ridges away from anywhere one could possibly hope to buy anything. But I often have Buy Nothing Day here at home. It's pretty easy when you don't have a whole lot of disposable income.

Still, the holidays are upon us. Somehow Chanukah is next week already. And I admit it, I actually do like holiday shopping. I've even been to the mall on Christmas Eve Day on several occasions for last-minute gifts, and I haven't killed anyone. But these days I figure, if I'm going to buy a bunch of stuff, maybe I should know where some of it is made, or at least feel like I'm giving something beyond the scope of my friends and relations.

Here are a couple of my suggestions for gifts you can feel good about buying:

  • Check out Etsy for handmade gifts from people like my friend Xiane. If you don't have any friends who are vendors, try using the Geolocator feature to find out who's near you.

  • If you live in Baltimore, stop by the Woman's Industrial Exchange for gifts made by local consignors.

  • Another Baltimore opportunity (sorry, my brain still kind of lives there): the Greater Homewood Adult Literacy and ESOL Program, where spent a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer, is having a great fundraising event at the Barnes & Noble in Charles Village this Saturday. Buy books you would have bought anyway and support a great cause!

  • Look around your own neighborhood for holiday craft sales. There are at least two around here this weekend.

  • And, of course, Craigslist. And for that matter, eBay, the thrift store, the flea market. You have to be a little discerning, but know what they say about one man's trash? You buy (or get for free) something for your loved ones. Someone else gets rid of it. It's a win-win. Last year I drove out to Owings Mills and picked up a big ridiculous stuffed dolphin from a couple who had absolutely no use for it and wanted it out of their house. It ended up being a certain five-year-old's favorite Chanukah gift, and remains camped out as the only stuffed animal in her bed to this day. It doesn't matter to her what I paid (or in this case, didn't pay) for it.

  • Making your own gifts never goes out of style!
What are your suggestions for a reduced-guilt holiday?

1 comment:

maria said...

the day after i posted this, what should appear on but a similar sort of list with lots of good suggestions.