November starts the season of giving thanks. Nowadays, however, once Thanksgiving has passed, it is easy to lose sight of the thanking and get swept away in the giving.
Have I lost you? Giving is a form of showing thanks, I know. What I really mean by this is that we can broaden our gratitude during the season by shopping mindfully, choosing to spend our money with independent shops + artists + organizations that make a difference. Consider buying gifts that will not only brighten the faces of the ones you love, but will also have a positive impact on others.
Is it easier said than done? Not entirely. Here are some ways to buy + give thankfully:
- Shop Local! – The decision to support local gives back to our community, giving thanks to those that make our city the place we love to live. This doesn’t mean go to your local Wal-Mart, no sirree. It means go to the sister-owned storefront down the road or shop a local craft fair, like Epona & Oak or the Rock & Shop Market! (Come see me at the Durham Armory for Rock & Shop on November 30th — it is Small Business Saturday after all!)
- Support Handmade – Artists who handcraft their wares pour their hearts into it (like Glynne’s Soaps, who literally does just that!). They’re often pulling double-duty, working a day job + creating in their “down time,” or they work ’round the clock to make what they love, their dream, a reality. When you spend your dollars with independent artists, you best bet your dollar is going to go far. When I first started b+b, all of the money I made helped pay for our wedding — every single penny earned was beyond appreciated and went toward our future. Still, the money made from my sales goes toward a better tomorrow (maybe it sounds cliche, but it’s true). Also, because I appreciate this sort of thing, I put my money back into the community as often as possible, buying local, supporting artists. See the wonderful cycle?
- Buy Fair Trade – Not all products made in another country are bad, but there is a big difference in buying a shirt made in a factory without proper working conditions and a scarf handcrafted by a villager getting a fair wage. Sometimes we might pay a little more for these products, but knowing the difference a few cents can make encourages smart buying. Ten Thousand Villages and Beleza are two local spots who sell fair trade gifts + help empower artisans in other countries.
- DIY/Buy Recycled + Repurposed – With Pinterest in play, there is no excuse to not put random objects to use + craft some nifty recycled/repurposed DIY gifts. Not comfortable with a glue gun though? That’s okay… you can buy these sorts of items too. Lucky Pie Gallery in Cary is a super fun spot, and Re-Eco in Wilmington is such a darling shop full of great finds.
- Support Non-profits – There are two ways to do this (maybe even more): either gift a donation or buy direct from an organization, such as Pinups for Pitbulls who put their profits to good use. You might even consider shopping at a local thrift store like Cause for Paws — then you’d be repurposing an item + supporting a good cause! Double points for you.
- Buy One, Gift One – TOMS does this well. Warby Parker too. When you buy a gift, they donate one to somebody in need. Win, win.
This season, I encourage — challenge — you to shop mindfully, giving thanks to the makers and sellers in your community, while showing gratitude to the ones you love. Challenge accepted? What are other ways we can give thankfully?