The season of celebration and festivity has begun, and with it a blast of cultural messaging telling us that it's time to get busy and buy lots of things! Meanwhile (here in the northern hemisphere) the light is waning, the plants are shifting into dormancy and animals are going into hibernation. Nature-- our nature-- tells us it's time to go inward to seek respite and restoration while the voices of commerce would have us believe that peace and joy come with going out and shopping. While we know that's not true, avoiding it altogether usually isn't practical.
Celebrations and gift giving are true expressions of the heart -- but the real and meaningful behind it all is too often entangled with consumer habits that drain our energy, our resources and our joy. We experience this conflict in our minds and our bodies and end up exhausted. So how do we navigate this season where nature, our traditions and our consumer culture are pulling us in so many different directions?
In recognition of Black Friday and all that it stands for, here are some suggestions for keeping the buying in balance.
A Guide for Slow Shopping
- Think about the holiday traditions and activities that bring you the most enjoyment such as planning gatherings, cooking, baking, gift giving, traveling, attending special performances, listening to seasonal music, etc. Make it a point to plan your time around these as much as possible.
From the above, make a list of which ones actually require purchases.
- For instance, if you've having people over, take a good look through your cupboards to see what you already have before making your list. Challenge yourself to use things you already have to reduce what your have to buy. Consolidate your shopping trips and plan them during a time when you aren't as likely to be tired or rushed.
For gift giving, consider giving experiences rather than material things.
- This is a great idea for anyone of any age. Promise tea with a friend, an evening of Netflix with your teenager, an afternoon of making cookies with a pre-schooler. If the presentation is important to you or the recipient, you can cleverly gift -wrap a note of explanation!
Be conscious of who and what you are supporting with your purchases.
- Think about materials, sourcing and labor practices and seek alternatives for those things that you feel don't deserve your dollar.
Try to observe when the outside noise of advertising and false expectations are draining your energy and joy.
- Focus again on the things that you know you love about this season and center your activities around those.
- Remember that the gift of kindness is free to everyone!
- Look for the beautiful, peaceful, and joyful expressions of the season and you will find them!
We're intentionally having a slow holiday week with family, but we've curated some lovely sustainable, responsibly sourced lifestyle items as "slow shopping" choices for you. Look for them to be up in our online store by Wednesday. In the meantime enJOY this special time of year.
Lady Farmer Love,
Mary and Emma