Had I started this book club a month earlier, we would be reading chapter three this month – "Buy Local" – which would have aligned well with the season. Still, in anticipation of next month's chapter, I've done the majority of my Christmas spending this year at independently owned businesses. Mostly, I've done this shopping in Uptown Waterloo to celebrate the re-opening of King Street after a long period of construction (my 2.5 year old kid who loves machines might contest my use of the term celebration when referring to the end of construction, though he is adjusting to the change well) and the survival of many of my favourite stores.
I wish I could say I only shop locally, but I can't - I also choose the convenience of a big box store and the comfort of online shopping, too. When I do buy local and when I do this in Uptown Waterloo, a couple of my favourite places to visit are the Truth Beauty Company, Wordsworth Books, and Ten Thousand Villages (and then stopping for lunch at Princess Cafe).
I also picked up a couple of presents at the Stitch n' Kitsch last weekend where a number of local artisans were selling their goods. You might still be able to order from them online! You could also head to this holiday popup in Toronto on Saturday or visit Gifted, a brick-and-mortar shop in Waterloo that sells unique gifts, home decor items, and paper goods from a range of independent suppliers.
While I aspire to simpler, less overly indulgent festivities in how much I'm buying, I do have a lot of fun browsing for gifts because it gives me a chance to think about the people I'm buying for a little more than I usually would and this also makes me slow down in what otherwise feels like a pretty frantic time.
Other Ways to Give
Donation: There are so many places deserving of money and my endorsement of this one, this year, does not mean to take away from the good work of the many organizations I love and support. However, I want to share this particular initiative - Inspiring Futures: Walls to Bridges Bursary fund – which needs to raise $1,655 in the next 18 days to reach its goal, so if giving is possible for you and part of your plan this year, consider giving to this fund.
This bursary has personally and greatly impacted me this year because I have had the opportunity to teach this year's recipient. She is engaged, driven, capable, and has hugely contributed to my own learning.
The Environment: Want to reduce your impact on the environment this holiday season? Head over to Reading My Tea Leaves for eco-friendly tips for gift wrapping, party planning, transportation, and more this holiday season (and really pretty photos!).
Where are your favourite independent businesses to buy gifts from? In what other ways do you give, during the holiday season or at other times of the year?