Christmas is over and life has gotten back to reality - somewhat. So I am just reflecting on the past two weeks of family gatherings, presents, movies and breakfast in bed, friends over for visits, parties, and really good food. And the one thing that has really stayed with me is that I am so proud I never once set foot inside a big box store for any christmas gifts, etc. I proudly bought a few things through Etsy and the One of A Kind Show (supporting really wonderful and talented artisans), I picked up a few items at a locally owned toy store that only sells really high quality (Read: not made in China crap) toys and games at their store, Lu and I made some cookies and bath salts and gave those out as gifts and we also painted up some bird houses and wooden ornaments and gave those away too. We shopped online at World Wildlife Federation and made donations to World Vision and Medicines sans Frontiers - all three are such important organizations and we are proud to sponsor them - and I also did some last minute shopping at our local 10,000 villages store (money goes directly back to the third world artisan).
All in all it was a very "global" christmas and I am so happy I never once had to step foot in a Wal-Mart or other equally annoying large box store. I kept hearing people complaining about line ups and raging customers and low stock and dirty stores and I just had to laugh to myself and say... there is a better way... an easier way and a more important way. I think now is the time we have to stop looking at cheap solutions -- buying cheap toys, eating cheap sources of food -- it is just such an easy way out (or seemingly easy way out because the consequences are enormous). Just plan a little, think down the road a little and justify your cheap, easy purchase -- was it worth it? Really? Look beyond your safe reality and think long and hard about where that cheaply made toy came from, or the inexpensive steak on your plate... these are global issues now and we all need to start thinking globally as well and to stop taking the perceived easier way out!