Argh! I totally got sucked in!!!
I boycott Black Friday. I reject the consumerism and materialism. I resist the ads and the lure of 50% off and the deal too good to pass. Except that I didn’t. I sat at the table this morning with my bagel and coffee and perused the too-good-to-be-true ads along with my covetous children. I told them I didn’t want to see. I didn’t want to get suckered into the things I suddenly might need that I didn’t know I needed. And it happened. There were things in the ads that were already on my gifting lists. I couldn’t resist. It’s good to get the best bang for your buck! Right? So I did it. I bought Christmas gifts online using Black Friday discounts on Thanksgiving Day. I did what I said I wouldn’t do. But I’m not alone. Loads of people are going to swarm the stores and online deals for Black Friday. I can say I’ve forgiven my temporary lapse in judgement – justifying that the items were on my to-gift list already and I did resist the urge to buy impulsively. I truly don’t want to buy just because it’s a good deal. I want to create opportunity and memories and value with the money I spend. My favorite ways to gift are to either make it myself, or give with purpose. I recognize not everyone is a maker but choosing to give gifts with purpose is not that hard! Before you run out to consume all the too-good-to-miss deals on Black Friday … consider some of these ideas:
- Buy local and/or support small businesses. This not only contributes to your local economy but also supports a hard working family in your community. Clearly I’m passionate about small businesses as a small business owner myself and experience with my husband’s small business for 15 years – small business owners often don’t bring home as much as you might think after all of their business expenses. Boutiques, florists, service providers, home based businesses, Etsy shops … there are loads of options! Think gift cards!
- Buy memberships. One of my favorite gifts from last year was my membership to the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s a gift that keeps giving all year long! Another good one might be the Botanic Garden or Morton Arboretum (they are reciprocal!)
- Buy experiences. Especially experiences that you can enjoy together! Quality time is a huge gift! My daughter wants to go horseback riding again — there’s a Groupon for that!
- Supporting Fair Trade is an awesome way to give with purpose. Noonday, Thistle Farms, Lovishly, & Purpose Jewelry are some of my favorites. No only are you supporting ethical work environments but you’re also helping family provide for their children. Hubby got this chevron necklace for me off my wishlist last year. Love it! I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to a few Fair Trade sites I like.
- Find businesses who support causes you care about. Last Friday was my November Soul Day. I’m passionate about small businesses and I’m passionate about books too! (Would you believe I work part-time in a library as a Small Business Adviser — perfect.fit.job!) Anyway — I wanted to check out a small used book shop, Open Books, in the city. I’d heard they are a non-profit that provides literacy services to the kids in the community! How cool! That is something I’m willing to support — so I did. I bought a book for a gift and some poetry for myself, knowing I made a contribution to the work they are doing to make a difference in a child’s life. Literacy — a true gift.
Since the events that unfolded in Paris, the refugee crisis, the controversy and differing opinions – I’ve read the articles, seen the footage, prayed about how to respond. Even though I feel like my own family is just getting back on our feet – we have SO much compared to the suffering around the world. I’ve been asking myself a question surrounding these events. How can I respond to the great need out there? Our family doesn’t have a lot of disposable income and I know financial contributions are the ideal way to help. I wanted to find a way to give to the organizations who are doing the work of compassion. I know we can either react with fear or respond with compassion. I choose compassion.
My response is to provide an opportunity to gift with purpose. I created this sweet girl specifically for this purpose, referencing a photo of a Syrian refugee. I thought of adding her to the 52 faces project I’ve been working on all year but decided I wanted her to be special. She’s in a league of her own! She will be a press printed 5×5 print (including the white border) on high quality 120lb superfine eggshell paper. For $5 you might add her to the top of a gift package or frame her as a reminder to pray for the hurting in our communities and around the world. 100% of the profits of this print will go to the efforts of World Relief in providing for the refugees. She is a limited edition print and you can find her in my shop until midnight on Sunday, November 29th. This way you will have her in plenty of time for gifting! She should arrive in your mailbox sometime during the week of the 7th. And by all means, forgive yourself if you also succumb to the Black Friday hole but keep your wits about you and gift with purpose too!