Monday, November 30, 2009

a greener holiday season...

Well we're almost out of the consumer weekend relatively unscathed. Masses went to the malls, but in general spent less. Right now we are in the midst of cyber-monday. So I thought I'd take a few minutes to jot down my sense of the pressure of the season.

The first thing to ask, is it ok not to give a gift? Given the current economic climate, I know we are suppose to spend and drive the economy. But I also know that this is tricky for some of my friends who may have lost jobs. However, there is something powerful for someone to give as a genuine act of kindness.

Redefine what a gift is. Cook meals for your friends, give a cooking lesson, offer baby sitting. Give some plants from your own garden to start another. Give something of yourself.

Second, if you are going to drive the economy think about the money chain. If you buy a gift from a local retailer or a mail order firm. Who are you helping? Will your dollars trickle down to your friends and neighbors? Or will it be centralized in the coffers of large companies. Sometimes it's unavoidable, only Apple makes iPods. But there are plenty of people who sell ipod wallets and holders. Consider buying a home made knitted iPod sock from a local artisan over one from a larger retailer manufactured far away. Alternatively, offer experiences. Consider dinners close to home or a round of mini golf.

Third, decide and share what gifts matter to you. Really think hard about what you WANT and why you want it. A habit I have is that when I want something I write it down on a list before I buy it. And everytime I think I want it. I look at the list again. If I keep wanting to add something to a list over a long time, I know I really want it and I'm not caught in a sudden urge.

Lastly, it's ok to enjoy life but enjoy it. A greener holiday season means thinking about how much you want, how you get what you want, and really wanting what you want.


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