There is another way! You do not have to compromise your values during the holiest season.
I have a simple recipe for holiday success:
Step 1: Celebrate "Buy Nothing Day" the day after Thanksgiving. I offer to you my alternative to long lines and stampedes at Walmart: I host a turkey sandwich party with family, complete with board games and rental movies.
|Turkey sandwich party - even better than a Walmart stampede|
|You can buy these here!|
|My child will love this handmade toy. I will make sure of it.|
Step 3: Visit a craft fair or marketplace to support more hard working talented people with your holiday dollars. If you live in Seattle, you are lucky enough to have Pike Place Market every day of the year and the awesome Urban Craft Uprising a few times a year, including December 3rd and 4th. I would recommend bringing cash so that you do not go into debt at this better-than-you-are-imagining craft market. Who is coming with me?!
Urban Craft Uprising: promo from Behrens Films on Vimeo.
Step 4: Consider other creative ways to support things you believe in. Why not give a gift certificate to a CSA or other organic food delivery service? Everyone loves free food delivered during a busy week.
Have a favorite charity or cause? Donate in a friend's name and send a card saying that you did. I love KIVA, which gives micro-loans to small business people around the world. You even get your money back when they re-pay the loan and you CAN LOAN IT AGAIN! How fun!
Use your talents to say, "I love you." Offer a delivered meal or babysitting to a family with young children, use of your vacation property, eggs from your backyard chickens, whatever talents you have that can be shared! If you choose your gift and the recipient with careful thought, your efforts will not be unappreciated.
Wrap up the best books that you read this year and give them to a friend who is an avid reader and dying to find the next best read. Nothing beats a great book! (Did you read The Hunger Games yet?)
Step 5: Lastly, there is nothing wrong with a mass produced item. I did cry after all, when my parents gave me a KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas years ago. And I know my mom really appreciates the new Cuisinart that my siblings and I gave to her after her 20 year old food processor finally died. Just choose wisely. Give something that someone will actually appreciate and forgo the gifts that are given for the sake of gift-giving. No one really likes those trinkets and stinky candles anyway.
Most of all, take some time to remember what all the fuss is about anyway. Whether end of year celebrations are religious for you or not, it surely has meaning deeper than a big sale or fancy bow.