Handmade, local, home-based, etc.: Shop Thoughtfully This Season

As we all get ready start another crazy shopping season, I’m starting to think a lot about how much I’ll spend on gifts this year as well as how I’ll spend my budget. While I realize that we all need to pinch our pennies, I think we also need to spend in order to get our country back to where it needs to be.  The answer is to spend thoughtfully.

I see a lot of pleding to shop handmade going on, and I love the idea, but I think it can be a little limiting.  I think we should remember local shops, home-based businesses and local services as well.  I mean, if you’re going to buy your mom some earrings, why not get some beautiful handmade ones or stop at a local boutique that will have unique styles?  And how many people do you know that sell Mary Kay, Lia Sophia or Pampered Chef?  Those would be awesome gifts!  And local services (massage, salon, theater/concert/comedy clubs, house cleaning, photography sessions, etc.) are a great way to let your pennies stay in the community and give really thoughtful, meaningful gifts that the recipient will love.

All of these – handmade shops, local shops, home-based businesses and local services are going to be more personal, more eager to build a relationship with you as a client, and be more unique than big-box gifts.  There’ll be a story behind that gift, and a face behind the product.  It will add heart and soul to what you’re gifting, even without the person knowing where it came from.

It’s kind of like cookies.  Even though ingredients are pretty much the same, you can always tell a homemade, local cookie from a factory/big box cookie.  It tastes better and seems like it has more to give than one pulled from a carton.

So I say pledge to shop thoughtfully.  You won’t be able to dash out at 10 p.m. on Dec. 24th and throw stuff in a cart (which I have to confess I did one year, but it was three weeks after my son was born), but you will probably end up with much more thoughtful gifts that your recipients will truly enjoy, because you put time and thought behind them.  And isn’t that the whole point of gift-giving?

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