A series of posts considering the options for Christmas shopping (online, retail, local, eccentric) and the impacts of our decisions (financially, socially, preservation-esque). This is post 2 of 4. See considerations #1, #3, #4.
Consideration 2: Can you Shop Locally?
I know, I know, I ramble on about shopping in your local downtown and avoiding big box retailers. You might roll your eyes and call me a crazy idealist. Okay, fine. But, I am acknowledging that there are instances when people cannot shop local businesses. For example, some people live in the middle of nowhere (as in, hours to stores) or people live in suburbia (as in, chain stores have taken over everything), or the local downtown caters to the wealthy, the tourists, or those who like tchachkas or really expensive clothes and décor that normal people cannot afford. And in all honestly, those chain stores sometimes (not always!) beat the local prices.
If one of these fits your situation, then you probably are calling me crazy. Anyway… Now what do you do?
How to Shop Locally.
Consider turning to the world of online shopping (also a separate consideration). Sites like Etsy, DaWanda, and GLCMall are online stores set up and “owned” by individuals who have a specific craft and sell their work. Craft? By crafts, I do not mean only potpourri pillows and candles and knitted scarves (though some people like such things). On these sites you can buy artwork, jewelry, clothing, furniture, leather goods, picture frames, kids’ toys, stationery, Christmas ornaments…the list never ends. Etsy even has a search by location function. Dawanda is based in Germany. DaWanda and GLCMall seem to rely more on crafts than Etsy, but all sites have interesting products.
Take a look and you will see that handmade doesn’t mean grandma style crafty or elementary school art class. I only know one person who owns a shop on Etsy. Check out Jennifer’s shop for picture frames, mirrors, and furniture.
Why consider such sites? Well, consider this: You may not be able to shop locally, but if you are supporting self employed businessmen and women (the artisans, if you will), then you are at least part of the local economy and not just corporate America. With the search by location feature, you can choose which region to support. What a wonderful idea.
You could also consider shopping ahead of time, when you’re traveling or visiting friends and family. And of course, some good “googling” can usually help you find what you want.
What about those voids that can’t be filled locally?
No, some items are not sold in locally owned stores because that is no longer how the economy works. I always think of electronics for this example or mundane necessities like random household cleaning items. We do have our limits. But, that does not mean that presents (aside from electronics) cannot be found. The point is to try. After all, if everyone could just put in some effort then, combined, we can all make a difference and help the local businesses.
Next in the series: online shopping…