Holidays and community help

shop-localBy Jenee Gregor
Deputy Editor

This time of the year the American capitalist way urges people to spend more money than usual this month.  The holidays, in a lot of cases equates to spending money to share care or love, and so often the gifts are not supportive of values that support local and greener businesses.

This year, it is a good thing to make a change in a world where things are a little upside down with a climate change denying president-elect and a world that the fashion trends hardly outlive the clothes. According to the EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year, and that figure isn’t fixed. Let’s make a change together, starting with where the money goes.

Buy Thrift

This isn’t the sexiest concept, but in reality, vintage is in. Retro is in.  And for the sake of the planet, green and sustainability are in. According to the U.S. National Labor Committee, some Chinese workers make as little as 12–18 cents per hour, working in poor conditions.

So many goodies can be found at local thrift stores, and not only is it an environmentally conscious decision to not buy new, but so many of these businesses support programs that feed the homeless, clothe the needy or provide care for the community that is close to home.

Salvation Army Ann Arbor thrift stores proceeds go to helping in adult rehabilitation said Chris Cunningham, office receptionist and Adopt-A-Family coordinator.  “The money here goes back into the community,” she said.

Buy handmade

Buy from that girl that makes jewelry that works in your coffee shop?  Or maybe there is a holiday art and craft event nearby?  DIYpsi holds events that showcase locally made goods that go right into the pockets of those in the nearby area.  There are so many artists that could use a little extra cash flow, and it feels good to know where money goes, and who wouldn’t love a handmade gift from a local artisan.

Make something

This is always an option.  No matter the occasion or the person, handmade shows personality and shows care.  It has that certain level of creativity that is mixed with the time that is spent to craft a gift for someone special.

The idea isn’t that someone spent a ton of money, it is the thought, the process and the value that it brings to life.  Commercial gifts, made in China, things that are produced from sweatshops really only go so far, and are easily forgotten.  Give gifts that mean something, and that will be remembered.

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