You don’t need to occupy Wallstreet to get your message across…

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Think About This Thursday
Don’t like big business? Change your holiday shopping routine!

The holidays are fast approaching and already I am starting to see advertisements for popular gift ideas from the big box retailers. Fliers are coming in the mail that show off all the flashy gifts you could buy your friends and family. When they start passing along coupons and free shipping deals, it is hard to resist. If you think about the environmental impact that most of these products have it is enough to make a person cringe! One way to reduce your ecological footprint in the coming months is to find small, local retailers, crafters, bakers, and farmers who can provide a wonderful selection of products for your holiday gift giving and entertaining! Homemade chocolates from a local artisan or jam from your local orchard would be a creative and ecofriendly gift idea!

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Think about this:  The most recent statistics I came across indicate that approximately 80% of toys on the market today are made in China. Over 80% of the beauty products currently on retailer’s shelves contain ingredients on The Black List. And there were 237 food recalls in the US last year.

Big business isn’t ALL bad but small businesses tend to pay more attention to detail when it comes to the products they create. They also have much less of an impact on our environment than larger companies. Finding a small company that also happens to be close to where you live  is even BETTER! It keeps the money you have earned within your own community and even further reduces the impact on our environment.

Here are just a few ways that supporting small, local businesses is good for the environment:

1. Less transportation required: It is getting harder and harder to find products that are made right here in the USA. That means the majority of gifts advertised in those flashy fliers are coming from overseas. Whether by boat or by plane, it takes a lot of fossil fuels to transport goods from across the world!

2. Less packaging: If you have ever tried to get a child’s toy out of its box after it has been unwrapped you will understand just how much packaging waste these products produce. Small, local businesses do not have the extra money to invest in labor intensive packaging which makes your trashcan much less full after all the gifts have been opened.

3. Small businesses reduce sprawl: By supporting your local, small businesses you help ensure their success. Big box retailers take up a lot of space and those huge parking lots are an ecological nightmare. The more local businesses we have, the fewer new huge department stores will be built!

What are some other great gift ideas from local vendors? Many local artisans make candles and soap. You could also look for local carpenters for a beautiful bookshelf or an afghan made by a nearby quilter. Maybe you YOURSELF are a phenomenal quilter? (I envy you if you are!)  Homemade gifts are a thoughtful way to show someone how much you care! Take a few minutes so sit down and really PLAN your holiday shopping list.

In order for small, local businesses to survive, WE as a community must support them. Yes, prices tend to run higher for products made by hand and with attention to detail but maybe you could put a few less gifts under the tree this year.

 You don’t have to camp out on Wallstreet to get your message across…the almighty dollar is the most powerful message there is so spend it wisely! Where will YOU shop this holiday season so that YOUR voice is heard?

Need something else to Think About This Thursday? Head over to Confessions of an Overworked Mom!

Comments

  1. Craft shows are everywhere at this time of year visit them and you will find lots of these types of businesses. If you want only handmade items look for Juried shows as this is all they are alloweed to sale.

  2. April Decheine says

    I have not yet decided where I will be shopping but I love the idea of the artisans, I love hitting the farmers market and buying from the vendors!

  3. I love this post. Big business isn’t all bad…but you hit the nail on the head…we should all be supporting our local economy. I know over the weekend I just visited a Mom and Pop shop and purchased several “homemade” gifts for Christmas!

  4. Mommy Reporter says

    I think shopping locally really depends on where you live. I happen to live in a far off area that doesn’t have too many choices when it comes to shopping. So I choose to shop the bigger stores simply for convenience and a wider selection.

  5. i hate how many toys are made in china, and now in mexico too…..why send all the jobs away? did you see what they are doing go hershey, PA? UGH

  6. Kimberly Gauthier says

    You’ve given me something to think about – what a thoughtful post. Thank you 🙂

    Definitely Tweeted!

  7. Awesome ideas! There are many products that are made in the USA. Choose those first!

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