“I pledge to buy handmade this holiday season, and request that others do the same for me.”
The Handmade Consortium (Etsy, Craftster, et al..) created the pledge to encourage us all to be conscious of how we spend our money (especially during the holiday season). Join the Handmade Consortium and pledge to support independent artists. Pledge to know how and where products are produced. Pledge to find unique and meaningful gifts. Pledge to buy handmade!
Prior to moving to Norway ten years ago, I was working and living in Montreal, Canada, in the downtown core for the better part of my adult life. It never ceased to amaze me how the holiday season changed my ‘neighborhood’. Walking to and from work everyday, bobbing and weaving through the concrete jungle – you could feel the holiday season approach … it was/is a scary phenomenon. After work, it was no longer just the locals making their way home after a long day at the office – there were ‘invaders’… the masses that swoop in every holiday season to clog the streets and malls – simply to wait in line to buy the latest fad marked ‘made in china’. They always looked stressed – you could see they were not enjoying themselves. Many had lists, just trying to get it over with.. others wandered aimlessly, often settling on whatever they could find just to get out. I fell into the trap for all too many a year.. thinking that was what we were supposed to do every holiday season – ‘buy impersonal things for the people we love’ -uhhh.. yes.. that is what I just said. Then one year in my early 20s, I did not budget well and planned poorly for the shopping season. My flatmate at the time and bestbud Heidi (hi girl! – did we have some good years or what? hehe) decided that we had to improvise. We had our list of friends and loved ones and thought – given our combined budget – what can we do? We decided to make! Well let me tell you, we had a great time. We baked and baked… and we baked some more, we clipped and glued, decorated and put together the most lovely packages. There was nothing superflash, nothing exotic, just simple (and economical!).. for packaging, we reused whatever we could by ‘upscaling it’. Being consummate coffee drinkers, we saved all those great tins with the sealable lids and decorated them. Even the decorating was inexpensive (read:cheap!) We went through all of our old magazines, clipped wedges of colour.. hundreds of little slivers.. then mod-podged them on to the tins before filling with all of the best home baked goodies we could manage. We made christmas decorations in the same manner, using styrofoam balls that we cut in half, glued copies of our favorite family photos on the flat side and mod-podged the ‘slivers’ on the back, using a ribbon loop to finish the edge and hang (note to self – do this with the kids this year and make a tutorial). We laughed and enjoyed ourselves in every step of the process, no stress, no long lines, no return receipts to have to manage. But.. the best part was when we gave. Until you receive (or give ) something handmade – something chosen with purpose, something with a history all its own – well.. just try it and you will understand. If you do not have time, or do not believe you have the skill to make – at least take the time to choose something someone else has made by hand. It is really not that hard, look at etsy, go to a local christmas market , visit your artists coop. You will not regret it.