Sunday, January 8, 2017

Lifestyle Reboot - December: Gifting Responsibly

All right, friends, this is it. The last challenge of my year. I had kind of hoped to be ready for a completely zero waste month by this point but I'm honestly just not there yet. The thought of trying to do the holidays waste free was a bit too overwhelming. My family is very supportive but old habits die hard and this is not the time to make a thing of it. So, at some point in 2017, I expect to get there, but for now I am continuing to focus on making better choices from where I'm at.

For December I decided to do my very best to gift responsibly, trying to find something for each person that still fits within my personal ethos. My goals were to shop locally and sustainably as much as possible, buying secondhand or making things where possible.

Overall, I was pretty happy with how everything came out. I was able to find local sources for almost everything and half of my gifts were food that I know will be enjoyed, rather than items that will simply be tossed out in a couple years. Honestly, I am actually kind of proud of myself. I put a lot of thought and effort into each gift in order to find something that would be appreciated by each person on my list while sticking to my values.

The downside of all of that thought and planning was that it made the whole process kind of stressful and rather time-consuming. Homemade gifts are awesome and I really enjoyed making them, but it takes a bit of time to gather all the materials and then actually make the gifts. I also ran into a little bit of trouble shopping at local small businesses because they didn't always have the things that I wanted when I needed them, which meant trying several stores around town and rethinking some of my gifts.

While I feel really good about my choices and I think they were very much appreciated, it was kind of a big hassle. I'm not sure how I would have made it work if I had a family to take care of and without the added benefit of winter break (perks of being a teacher). The whole thing sounds great in practice and I'd really like to continue to gift in this way, but the experience really made me appreciate the convenience of stores like Target, where everything is in one place and you can know, with reasonable certainty, before you even walk in the door if they are going to have the things you need. That seems like an incredible luxury.

All in all, I think it's worth it. I think that the extra thought that went into each gift was appreciated by the receiver and I think it's important to vote with my dollars, so to speak, and spend them supporting the businesses that I want to thrive, no matter what I'm shopping for. However, I appreciate the need for balance. It's going to take some time to find the places in town that do consistently carry the things I need, so that it isn't a hassle every time. And there are some things that I'm just not going to be able to get locally. Which means that, if it's really something I can't live without, it's ok, every now and then, to just run to Target. 

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