It’s beginning…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere we go. Most towns, come this part of the year, begin to morph into something straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. When I was growing up I swear that I remember our town tree being decorating with tin pie pans, and yet believing it was the most gigantic and magical tree in the world. I’ll admit, my memory may be off, re: the pie tins, but it is true that the holiday season really does evoke this sense of magic and wonder in children.

And then, for most of us, that fades away. We chastise ourselves internally, that Christmas is for kids. That it is better with kids. That it is childish. Do you know why, as life-jaded adults, Christmas is better when kids are around? Because we try to absorb the joy and wonder they still hold. And it doesn’t make us any happier, and so a lot of times we get sad.

Guess what? Christmas is for EVERYONE. This season is full of wonderment and magic because the very heart of this season is generosity.

It is the giving of compassion to others.

It is the wrapping of treasures, to give.

It is the baking and creating of special things to share with others.

It is the time most people think about others outside of themselves. Charities receive the most attention…

It is when we open ourselves up to receiving, which is cathartic and honestly pretty difficult to do.

THIS is why the season is magical. When we are children, our only job is to simply witness it all. We see illustrations of this play out in cartoons, storybooks and holiday specials. Living life by the light of a twinkling tree, we are able to capture the magic that is not only unwrapping a mystery adorned in festive paper, but also watching the eyes of loved ones as they open their own gifts. The magic never disappears, honestly it just gets buried beneath the weight of adulthood. The bills, the expenses, the stresses…

The lack of, instead of what is all around. (that’s a line in one of my favorite Christmas movies: Christmas really is all around. Bonus points if you can name that film- although, as Drew Carey used to say- “the points don’t matter.”)

It is beginning to look a lot like a magical time, and already I am hearing so many people FREAKING out. Tinsel triggered stress is a real thing.

While I can’t personally limit your stress, I CAN actually help a little bit. If you don’t subscribe to my email list, then you likely missed a few important announcements. I have three things that might reduce a little bit of your stress load, as we enter into this holiday season. Well, two technical things and then a little thought provoking advice to back up the two things…

1.) I have once again created a holiday gift guide of my favorite things! I do this every year, I know. This guide has helped many of you buy some great gifts, and prompted you to reach out and ask for my help for additional treasures. THIS year, in addition to my guide, I have put together an actual SHOP on Amazon, FILLED with something for literally every age or interest, on your list!

2.) Working alongside very capable and passionate women, I have created the Personal ShopHER directory. This is a growing directory of small, women owned, online businesses. This directory is ever growing so I encourage you to keep checking it out! (And currently the Beauty Counter link is gifting a free gift with every purchase, but ONLY through November 25th.)

3.) Shopping in these ways really captures the holiday giving season. Whether it is the Amazon storefront or the women in the Personal ShopHER, each purchase directly benefits a woman who is simply doing her best to build and create a business for herself and her family. Can we say that every time we check out at the big-box store? No, we can’t. As we go into 2020, I know that I am growing increasingly more aware of ethical spending and how frugality seldom leads to the best decision. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but there it is. With solely frugal decisions, everyone loses. When we train ourselves to consider how a purchase might put good into the world, we create something altogether different. Jen Hatmaker used an analogy and I’ll borrow it now:

Say I need a white t-shirt. I could get one for $7, from a big box store, or I could buy a similar one for $67 from a smaller company. Most would choose the $7 one, right? But what if we had the opportunity to trace that shirt back to its origin? (that company back to its origin.) One company likely exploits women and children, basically enslaving them to do back breaking/taxing labor for nominal pay insuring that they produce as MANY of those cheap white t-shirts as possible. These can be the people creating the fabric, the people in the fields, the people sewing…(Important uncomfortable fact: Do you know how many women working in these fields are raped on a regular basis? Here is one example. Google it- there are many. This is an issue even within migrant workers and US agriculture.) In addition, there is the carbon-footprint of the transportation. OR you can have the small company with grassroots origin, who goes out of their way to insure that their products are not only made by adults who are paid fairly, looked out for and not exploited. This then means that children don’t have to work for pennies, and can do things like go to school and play with their friends. They painstakingly brainstorm ways to get the best quality of materiel in the most ethical way. Ethical spending isn’t about getting the LOWEST price, but about getting the BEST price.

Being good stewards of our money means KNOWING where our money is going, it was never meant as a justification for bargain/exploitation. It might be checking out Facebook Marketplace or a local used furniture store, over Walmart, when you need a desk. Maybe a quality built desk from a local carpenter will cost ten times what that particle board desk-in-a-box might, so you have to save your money. Those dollars spent mean so much more than what you give at checkout… We can be charity minded, but we can also simply begin (start small) to think about what we spend, and why. Buying from local and/or small business really does help us to meet our shopping needs while also giving back. Everyone wins.

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