Have yourself a local little Christmas

Leslie Carlson

I've decided to spend my Christmas dollars this year with one main objective in mind: buy local.

After all, economic studies show that money spent on local goods tends to stay circulating in a community, supporting more local businesses and citizens, rather than being shipped backed to New York or the Cayman Islands or Dubai...or wherever the trendy corporate tax shelters are these days. But all piety aside, I'm buying local this year because the arts and crafts scene is so damn good.

Oregon seems to be positively chock-full of creative types who love to make things, be it clothing, household goods, art, bags or jewelry. And the number of crafts shows where local wares are sold seems to grow geometrically every season. Last Sunday, I made a trip to Portland's Crafty Wonderland and was blown away by the quality of goods. I found some wonderful, one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and enjoyed talking to the people who'd made them. You can't do that at your everyday trip to the mall.

This Friday, I'm planning a trip to the Pretty Girl Holiday Sale to finish up Santa's list (men welcome there, of course!)

I have to keep my holiday shopping in balance, however, given that I'm trying to live with less impact on the planet. Some of my friends will be getting the gift of time--child care, or a meal or movie on me--because frankly, we all own too much stuff. Others might be getting something consumable--Oregon wine, for example.

But others just might score a bauble or two if they've been nice. In fact, don't I deserve one after all that draining holiday shopping?

  • Brian (unverified)

    You're doing what I have been doing for the past 10 years or so. Send a card with an enclosed check, instructing the recipient to go out and enjoy a nice dinner on me. Many would consider that tacky, but I believe that sentiment does supports local businesses and ultimately gives the TO: ultimate choice. Gift cards are a scam and most of the folks in my gift radar don't need more useless crap that'll eventually be tossed in the garbage. Frankly, the best gifts I have received in the past two years have been charitable donations in my name. Somebody gives a dirt poor person on another continent a goat or a hive of honeybees via Heifer International rather than presenting me with some wrapped package full of stuff I don't need and everybody's happy. Were all warm, cozy, having a good time with more food than we could possibly consume. What more should we want? Make the young kids happy, but I have no use for materialistic goods. That in itself is something to be thankful for each and every day.

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    I was able to start a "new tradition" with my immediate family a couple years ago by making donations to non-profits instead of buying them "gifts."

    Initially, I got them a llama from Heifer International, which went over better than I expected.

    The following year, I gave gifts to Sisters of the Road (step-dad), Free Geek (brother), and The Grotto (mom). I also asked that instead of buying things for me, they give money or in-kind donations to local organizations.

    This year, The Fam has informed me that they're all giving money to charitable organizations instead of buying gifts. Imagine what we could do if we collectively refused to indulge in the Consumer Crap-Fest that Christmas has become. (But, oh, mercy mercy me, the Economy...)

    This year, my organization of choice is p:ear.

  • Soyaknow (unverified)

    What a nice reminder. Thank you for sharing.

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    Don't forget: Oregon Food Bank (www.oregonfoodbank.org), Doernbecher Childrens Hospital (http://www.ohsu.edu/health/clinics-and-services/doernbecher/dch-donations.cfm) and Dove Lewis Pet Hospital (www.dovelewis.org)

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    <h2>Great idea. Someone really should do a feature on this.</h2>

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