Anarchist knitting, subversive gardening, nonconformist living and the occupy movement, what do they have in common? They are part of a growing grass roots movement to take back the control of our lives from government and corporations. As we approach the American Thanksgiving Holiday — Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I challenge you to take your budget in hand, support your local artisans and farmers and avoid the Malls and Big Box Stores this weekend. And if your Christmas budget is nonexistent, focus on giving of your time and investing in relationships.
1. Your local economy will become stronger.
Dollars spent with artisans, farmers, and local small businesses stay in the community, so everyone profits. Your local economy can support more people with more jobs, as money comes in. When you support the Big Box store, money flows out of the community to multinational corporations. Yes they do support jobs, mostly minimum wage, no benefit, part-time positions. By buying directly from local artisans or shopping at owner-run boutiques you support your own local economy.
2. You will have a more serene weekend.
No lineups, no competition, no traffic jams or parking lot waits will interrupt your flow. Just a cup of coffee, your knitting needles, maybe somelive harp music at the local art gallery will enhance your mood and give you the festive atmosphere you need to acknowledge the season.
3. You will spend less money.
Local artisans make their crafts with expertise, quality materials and often original design. In the big city, these kinds of crafts come with a hefty price tag. Your local artisans sell their work without the Big City mark ups. I’m not saying it will be cheap, but it can be good value, when you buy a quality gift that will bring pleasure for many years.
4. You have the pleasure of giving something of immeasurable value.
Hand made gifts and artisan crafts or local food gifts are one of a kind treasures. I have always made my Christmas gifts or bought from local artisans. When I was younger I made excuses to my relatives because they were only getting something I made. How silly of me! Something that I chose to invest my time in is of immeasurable value. Time is your treasure. You can always make more money but you can never make more time.
5. You have the pleasure of thoughtful giving.
When you consider the person who the gift is for and what their needs are, you will craft something that brings pleasure to you as the giver, too. If you chose an artisan craft, you will be able to find something that can’t be bought in a store.
Hint: Everyone is cold in winter, everyone needs to get the chemicals out of their lives, everyone is lonely and needs to feel loved and appreciated, everyone likes it when their gifts and talents are acknowledged and appreciated, and some people like to eat, too.
And this weekend is only the beginning. By making an effort to be more intentional this weekend in your spending and your own hand crafting efforts and self sufficiency– you will gain immeasurably more:
- You will learn that you can make a difference.
- You will learn that there is no such thing as fail.
- You may discover a new passion.
- You will move toward mastery in your hand skills.
- You will launch on a journey of discovery in nonconformity.
- You will find a community of nonconformists that will encourage you along the way.
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Your turn: What’s one Christmas gift that you plan to make this season? How will you go about it? I realize not everyone reading this celebrates Christmas, so feel free to pipe up about how you celebrate your special holiday, too. I looked for Chanakah crafts but struck out. Is there a resource I should have listed?
Scrap Saver’s Christmas Stitchery
Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts: 225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Celebrations
The Canadian Living Christmas Book
Handmade Christmas: The Best of Martha Stewart Living
Fa la la la Felt: 45 Handmade Holiday Decorations