photo by quantis
Inspired by Dani’s reprise of her “Buy Indie” post, I’m reposting mine from last year again–it still holds true. ❤
I’m a minimalist by necessity, and by choice. This means that I hardly buy anything, try my best to reuse and think creatively when it comes to things we already have, and downsize what we have now. But, if we do buy anything, it comes from a hand made source.
I keep hearing that the economy is tight, and we all don’t have a lot of money. I sympathize and empathize with this. When buying (and systematically destroying and regretting it XD) a Starbucks drink is considered a deep luxury, things aren’t easy. I can understand that every penny is precious, and we all have to stretch them as far as they can possibly go…
But here’s the reality of things, very simple: I realize that Grandma Frannie is impossible to shop for, and a Starbucks gift card is the only thing that excites her besides Grandpa Andrew. I realize that Cousin Ned only accepts small, unmarked bills as gifts, and anything else will be thrown out in a week. But, for everyone else on your list–please, please, please consider buying handmade.
I know I’m preaching to the choir. Many people have a very vast knowledge of places like Etsy or Kiva or any number of really valid and wonderful not-for-profits and handmade bazaars. But maybe you’re going to go to Target and buy that scarf anyway. It’s easier, you think–and it’s your right to think that. The holiday season is filled with joy and light, but it can also be tiring. I get that.
But think about this:
The $15 you pay to Target will be swallowed up by a giant. He won’t even notice it. It’ll fall into the endless pit of millions and millions of dollars that would have kept on churning with or without you. That $15 is nothing to it, but something to you, and though you have a scarf–and it may be a very nice scarf–it was manufactured by the thousands, and will take a jaunt once or twice about the neck of your intended–and then get buried in the closet.
That $15? What if you’d spent it elsewhere? That $15 can make or break an Etsy seller. That $15 can make it or break it to that woman who knits scarves for a living, who has left her corporate job. She believes in her work with all her heart, but maybe she’s having a bad day. The bills are coming in. Life keeps going, and sometimes it sucks, and she’s miserable, and her kids aren’t getting along…suddenly, you hand her that $15 (in this hypothetical craft bazaar you’re both at), and suddenly she’s smiling, because you gave her money for something she made with her own two hands. You walk away with something beautifully crafted that the gift-ee will love, story and all–and she keeps doing what she’s doing, supported by your $15…which means quite a bit to her.
I’m a minimalist, and I still make and give gifts. I don’t believe that gift giving is this heartless monstrosity of obligation (and if you think that–I’m sorry. I wish I could change your mind. Any ritual has the power of whatever you want it to have.). I believe that when we give someone we love something–either something that we made, or something that we found, or something that we purchased, with the gift-ee in mind–that’s magical. That says “I think about you. I was out, and when I saw this thing, you crossed my mind, and that made me smile. You make me smile, and I love you. I know this physical object can’t show my love for you…but I thought you’d like it. I thought it’d make you smile. I miss you. I love you. I hope you like it.”
Every dollar that is exchanged between you–a human being–and another human being has power. That dollar changes things. That dollar creates and conjures things. Intangible things–like courage and hope and belief and good, glad tidings. Tangible things, like a bill paid and a meal on the table. Spiritual things–like a belief in something better.
Every. Single. Dollar.
You’re already shopping, and exchanging those dollars. You’re already thinking about what would make your sister smile or your father laugh. You’re buying or making or finding things you think they’ll love. Because you love them.
That love extends farther than you can ever know.
In this bright holiday season, I ask a little favor–if you’ve never bought hand made, consider it. If you’re already buying hand made–have you thought about going totally hand made? You’re magic, and you can spread it with simple, single choices.
And if you’re one of those great alchemists and magical people who build things with your hands, and believe in your work with all your heart–I salute you, I honor you. You’re magic, too.
Together, we create something great and beautiful. This community extends beyond you and I, us and them…it could be the whole world, if we kept going. But it starts here. It starts with you.
What are you going to do with this one, mad, precious season of light? It’s up to you.
Comfort and Joy — Sarah’s Gift Giving Guide of 2011 — please add to it!
Here are some wonderful people who are doing wonderful things, and creating extraordinary love through physical objects…which would all make perfect, precious gifts (and we included our shops this year in the mix, too).
Aerial Melodies — Beautiful jewelry and handmade cards.
Faerie Garden Fancies — lovingly hand sculpted polymer clay jewelry and art!
Fairy Magik — beautiful handmade fairy wings and original fairy art!
The Fable Tribe — Our shop: handmade charms and pendants, created from old, unloved fairy tale books and original spells and poetry, and other sparkly things.
Fateful Fiber — Hand spun and dyed yarns and adorable knit creations!
Helix Chainmaille — Gorgeous woven pieces, including Pride inspired ones!
Moonlit Creations — Lovely Pagan and magical jewelry.
The Misery/Love Co. — Amazing/glorious/beautiful perfume oils based on geek culture and classic literature. Highly recommended!
Parrish Relics — Divinely beautiful, medieval inspired jewelry.
Quiet Memento — Handcrafted pendants made with spunk and magic!
Sacred Suds — Really, really amazing handmade soaps. I’m in love with her stuff!
Sihaya Designs — Stunning, magical handmade jewelry.
Do you have a friend who makes amazing things? Do you know of a shop that makes you smile, or that you’d love to share (including yours?)? Post about it in the comments, and help spread the magic even farther~ ❤