Shopping for Christmas Gifts? You Have Power. Use It Wisely.

Shopping for Christmas Gifts? You Have Power. Use It Wisely.

I’m not a big shopper.  I spend a ton at the grocery, sure, but most of the year I don’t buy much in the way of clothing, music, housewares, or other retail goods.

But that changes when the holidays roll around.  We have a pretty modest Christmas at home, but the sheer number of family members we buy for means we lay out a pretty big chunk of change each year.

I know many of you are the same.  And that’s why I want to encourage you to be thoughtful about where your money is going this season.

We’ve talked about the benefits of buying unique gifts from cottage industries, and from making handmade gifts for giving.  I’ve told you that there are many things I love to buy online.

But before you wrap up (or begin) your holiday shopping, I’d like to encourage you to consider buying local, and to consider buying fair trade.

I love to support my local businesses with my shopping dollars.  During the holidays, my husband and I especially enjoy hitting up our local specialty toy shop, which has a great selection, decent prices, and award-winning (really!) gift-wrappers.  Last year we purchased a Bilibo for a gift, and I made sure to buy it from the local toy shop because I knew they’d do a much better job wrapping that awkwardly-shaped invention than I would.

For more information, Simple Organic has an excellent article on how Buy Local campaigns help local businesses create sustainable communities, or you can check out the page for Small Business Saturday, coming up on November 26.

Buying fair trade is another way to use purchasing power wisely. If it’s not something you routinely do, Christmas is a great time to give fair trade a try:  you can buy “unique gifts that have stories of lives transformed through dignified work.”  Or fair trade chocolate would make a great stocking stuffer–Divine is my favorite.

I don’t buy everything locally, and I don’t buy everything fair trade.  But I’m keeping these options in mind as I wrap up my gift shopping, because I’m being intentional about where my money is going this season.  I encourage you to do the same.

How much local shopping do you do for the holidays?  Do you buy fair trade for the holidays?

photo courtesy Orange County Archives

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5 comments

  1. I’m trying to buy more local or fair trade this year for sure. I’ve always tried hard to find unique gifts and the big box stores, while cheaper at times, do not cut it.

  2. Becca says:

    Nice post! I completely agree. So far I’ve bought the majority of my Christmas presents this year from Etsy (www.etsy.com). It features handmade items by people running their own small businesses. Awesome site — check it out 🙂

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