Beyond the big box: Feel-better alternatives for creative holiday gift shopping
This Black Friday will probably be a little different—I hope?—from the usual stampede of whipped up consumerism, but it will still kick off the official holiday shopping season. Let’s say you want to opt part of the way out of hypercommercialized Christmas but still want to give some gifts, and you’re looking for gifts to feel good about in some way or other. Some years you might lean on experience gifts, but the coronavirus pandemic makes that one hard. If your crafting skills are up to the level of making homemade gifts, more power to you, but … many of us are not there. So here are some places to look for gifts to feel good about beyond the pleasure of giving.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing is once again out with its Made in America Holiday Gift Guide, with something made in every state. You can get home decor signs made in Delaware; Baby Yoda-themed insulated tumblers made in Florida; recycled wool mittens, scarves, and hats made in Maine; espadrilles made in Puerto Rico by a company that “partners with a nonprofit vocational training and manufacturing organization for women;” and much, much more.
DoneGood is once again doing Shop for Good Sunday and has a variety of holiday gift guides, including one for gifts under $50. Solar-powered lights can come in very handy for your outdoor socializing during the dark months, or you could upgrade someone’s endless hand-washing with some lovely soaps. DoneGood exists to be a one-stop shop for values-driven shopping, and you can always filter their sellers for qualities like eco-friendliness, worker empowerment, or being woman/POC owned.
Check out this thread of gift ideas from Black-owned businesses. Check out the gorgeous hand-blown stemware toward the beginning of the thread. Did I mention it’s gorgeous?
The sad truth, as always, is your individual consumer choices aren’t drivers of major, deep economic, environmental, or any other kind of change. Maybe all you’re doing is making yourself feel a little better. Maybe you’re doing something more—supporting union jobs or a better way of doing business, in however small a way. Maybe it’s worth it to you either way.