Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Christmas Shopping Dilemma

Gifts for all those little shitheads are expensive. At least
Santa's not selling himself...
Oh Christmas.

'Tis the season for excessive amounts of shopping.

Don't get me wrong, I like a little retail therapy now and then, but I work very hard to ignore most of my materialistic urges. Saving money is important to me. It's why devote my weekends to my second job.

But then Christmas comes along.

I want to give people meaningful gifts. Gifts I think they will actually use and enjoy. Sometimes, that means I can make things for people, other times, it means buying something.

When it comes to making purchases though, I have been trying to shift towards more local shopping. When it comes to Christmas though, that's really difficult. Yes, there are a few boutique stores that are locally owned an operated, but what about when I want to make stuff?

So here's my dilemma. I heard a statistic once (and we all know how TOTALLY RELIABLE those are) about where your dollar goes depending on where you shop. If you shop locally, about 100% of your dollar stays in your community, 13% for big box stores/chains and basically 0% for online shopping. Clearly, there's no way 100% of the money a local store makes stays local (uhhhh,  what about the utilities they have to pay and the materials they make whatever crap they are selling out of??), but you get the idea. Shopping local means more money staying local.
Was this lettuce locally grown or are you just a local vendor?

Ok, so shopping local is great. I did a bit of it, getting presents through my workplace (which is locally owned and operated and involves some very awesome people) and a few local boutiques. Great. So what about the presents I want to hand make?

I am very crafty. I like to make things. Knitting, beading, baking....whatever. But all of those things involve materials. While I am totally down to support local businesses, there has to be a line somewhere. The only way I can make knitting time/cost effective, is to buy my yarn at Michael's or some other giant box store that sells crafty crap. See, you can go to Target and buy a damn scarf for like $10-$20. It costs about $7 in yarn to make one. If I bought my yarn locally, from a local hobby shop or even a local weaver, it would cost a lot more. The whole point of making people gifts is that it's cheaper! And you know, some bullshit about homemade and from the heart blah blah blah, but really it's cheaper.

Ok, so yarn and other craft supplies are out. How about baking? Well, since there are no locally owned grocery stores around here that I know of, I'm kind of out of luck there. Damn you, Nestle chocolate chips, you win again.

You mean, I could be doing all my Christmas shopping,
 without even getting dressed?!?
At least like 13% of my dollar stays local, right? And it's better than shopping online....

These are the kind of justifications I make to myself.