With the holidays approaching I have been thinking a lot about what type of 'consumer' I am - especially with the financial instabilities of today all around us. Lately, when I count my blessings 'work' is near the top of my list. Mr. 31 is self-employed, and although it seems simple, the biggest gift these days is that he has had steady work for the past 2 years. It goes without saying that our economy is in a sad place and I feel blessed that, although we have tightened our purse strings, we are not suffering, as many Americans are. With that in mind I have made a little resolution to support the small businesses and independent stores in the area as much as I can, instead of the large, chain stores. At first I thought it might be hard - after all, I love browsing on etsy.com, but I am the type of shopper who needs to touch something in person, especially if I am buying it for someone else - however, the more I delve into the idea, the easier I see it being. I have already created a little list of stores and merchants in the area who have great gift ideas and who I hope to support in the future. It might not be as easy as just going to the mall and doing one-stop shopping but I feel like the end result that it accomplishes makes the entire gift-giving process that much more worthwhile. In fact, the more that I look, the more that I see - how did I live so long in the same town and never visit all the small, artisan styles stores around me?
Another great idea - a facebook friend of mine posted this article and it is a wealth of awesome gift-giving ideas that support wonderful businesses and charities! I hardly know where to start...... so far I am loving www.bakingforgood.com (they have gluten-free goodies!), www.onehopewine.com, and www.nightlightinternational.com. Check it out - I guarantee you will find something that you like!