ok, let me start by saying this is not the planned post I had.
Back in October and November, I created the most beautiful gift guides I've ever created. I picked through all the mumbo jumbo on the web and found the top must haves for all the categories. Gardeners, foragers, minimalist, kids, foodies, pet owners, hunters- you name it, there was a guide for it. And then something happened...
The question why kept reappearing in my mind.
I know this time of year everyone is scouring to find the perfect gift for those special people in their lives, but this year its different. I know that sounds a bit cliche but hear me out. A few years ago when I owned a boutique, ensuring I knew where products came from and that I wasn't contributing to fast fashion and unfair living conditions was a huge priority for me. The same goes when I look to source our meats, if Nick doesn't harvest it or we don't know exactly where it came from, the idea of eating it just makes me cringe. And so when I was ready to post my beautiful gift guides I paused and thought why. Why, after the crazy year we've had are we still putting pressure on gift giving. Why are we still trying to get the biggest bang for our buck gifts, that have all the bells and whistles just to post on facebook, when people are hurting. Our entire country is hurting in one way or another so why are we pretending nothing has changed and we are still promoting that buy, buy, buy mentality.
Here I was about to share these gift guides and I personally wouldn't be shopping from any of them except the small businesses. And why should I feel pressured to contribute to the madness. Granted when I made my gift guides I did take time to search out small businesses for each category and I didn't put a bunch of meaningless junk on there but still, why did I feel the need to share them? So, I'm not.
Maybe that's not the answer you were looking for, and if that's the case I am sorry. I will happily help point you in the right direction if you ask but posting a bunch of pretty pictures and adding to the pressure to over spend and contribute to the junk we all store up in our homes felt dirty. Instead I want to challenge you to dig a little deeper yourself, like I have this year.
Think about that person whom you want to buy for. Think of ways you can add to their daily lives without adding to their clutter. Think of things they will truly use of appreciate. Then think of a small business who has products that can add value to their lives. This year several of my gifts to give have come from Among The Oak Farms and Raising lil' Gentleman. Two businesses who have good intentions built into the very core of their business structure. I know every time they get an order a little gleam of hope radiates through them, I used to be them. Then think of that person using their products, falling in love with them and then reaching out for more. Then life comes full circle friends. Give with meaning, with hope to create future customers and friends. Make gifts for your friends and families, that doesn't mean your cheap, you're giving them something that is priceless time. Write them a letter, make them a picture, use your talents to share how much you care for them. Purchase a subscription to Carbon Unwind and help them find peace and clarity in this crazy world. Allow yourself to go against the grain and be different. It will feel weird, but in a good way!
Iris has 3 gifts under the tree this year. Believe me, I want to buy her all the things because she is so fun to shop for. But I want her to learn appreciation for what she has. I know she will get plenty from everyone else, more than her little heart could ever desire but I want her to learn that giving is far better than receiving. The kids got a heart of gold and makes life tricky sometimes by throwing us for a loop like she did this year when we asked her what she wanted Santa to bring her. "I just want my family to have a good Christmas" was not what we expected to hear (throw me a bone kid, what do you want) but what parent wouldn't smile at that answer? I say this to explain it starts at home. We live in a world where kids run back to schools to tell the others what fancy gadget Santa brought them while some kids may have gotten nothing. It's messed up and heartbreaking. But wouldn't it be magical if we didn't put so much pressure on the holidays and kids went back to school talking about all the fun times they had with their loved ones instead. I know, I know the worlds not perfect, homes aren't perfect, life isn't perfect but my point is it starts at home. Teach your kids to be kind. To be loving, inclusive and a friend to everyone. Teach them to lift others up, to share and to want to give. Teach them the true meaning of Christmas and to appreciate the small things in life. Nobody is perfect, no family is perfect, this is just one mamas thoughts and hopes for my own family but I do hope that this makes you think as it has made me.
What are you doing different this Christmas? The year of stranger, close out 2020 a little differently in your home.