As "Black Friday" rolled through, you probably watched in horror and disbelief as people spent their Thanksgiving waiting in line at big retail stores. As the doors opened, it was not long before YouTube videos of general craziness and mayhem were posted. Seriously, what does this say of our society that people were literally fighting and showing total disregard for others just to save a few bucks? Why does this happen? Is it that the deals are just so incredible it ignites a passion in us? Or is it the constant media blitz of everything has to be bigger, better and newer that brainwashes us to thinking we would have to be crazy not to participate! We'll let the sociologist figure that out. The good news is that watching all of this fortifies my belief that there needs to be an alternative. Luckily, we have that in our area (see bottom of page).
"Small Bbusiness Saturday" is a wonderful thing that started a few years ago as people saw that purchasing everything at big retail stores really did not help local economies. I don't think I saw anyone sleeping out overnight at Franklins, but maybe that day will come. There was then "Cyber Monday" which is what it is. One of the better events to happen now is "Giving Tuesday" where you are supposed to give to charities. Did not see much play in the press/media about that but did see lots of emails.
I suppose the point of this, is that we, as a society, really need to take a look in the mirror. This holiday gift giving is getting totally out of hand. What is the true meaning of giving for the holiday? I would say that it's the thought, not the item, that counts. Does your Uncle really need another tie? Does your co-worker really need another coffee cup? Is there anything you really need that you can't just go out and purchase yourself? If I need a sweater I go to the store (thrift usually!) and buy a sweater. I really don't need anyone to purchase that for me. Sure, we want that moment to see the joy of little kids opening presents under the tree or during Hanuka and I'm not saying lets get rid of gift giving all together. What I'm saying is lets think about what is important in life and what we are trying to teach our children. Maybe one of their gifts can be that they get to choose a charity to donate to? Maybe one of their gifts can be a family outing to a movie? Maybe one of the gifts can be something hand made by someone local? Go to an Alternative Gift Fair (AGF) and choose a "gift" there. An AGF will have a bunch of charities all in one place. They will have a gift like "$10 buys meals for a family". If you purchase that, you donate to the charity (tax write off) and you get a gift card saying what it was you bought which you give as a gift. Everyone wins. Other ideas? Post them in the comments.
Upcoming Alternative Gift Giving Events:
- Gifts that benefit the earth and its people, cookie-baking for children, hot food from the grill, and baked goods will all be available Saturday, Dec. 1, at the 20th Annual For All Good Causes Holiday Sharing Fair at the University Park Church of the Brethren (corner of Tuckerman St. and Route 1.) 9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
- Mt. Rainier Community Craft Fair Date: Saturday, Dec 1, 2012Location: Joe's Movement Emporium 3309 Bunker Hill Rd, Mt. RainierTime: 10am-6pm
- Sat, Dec 1, 12 noon - 4 pm 14th Annual Takoma Park Alternative Gift Fair Takoma Park Presbyterian Church Community Hall310 Tulip Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912(corner of Tulip & Maple), three blocks from the Takoma Metro Station
- Wed, Dec. 12 - noon - 2pm 5th Annual NEA Alternative Gift Fair, NEA Headquarters at 1201 16th Street, NW, Washington 20036. Two blocks from Farragut North Metro.Others? List below!