I recently heard some statistics that made me stop and think about how I shop for the holidays. Did you know that if you shop locally, as much as 67 cents out of every dollar is likely to stay local and enrich your hometown? Compare that with about 13 cents out of every dollar if you shop from a big box or corporate entity. That is truly amazing and speaks well to our ability to influence the world around us.
Aside from that, purchasing handmade objects gives you an even greater incentive for the holidays, because the handmade objects also have the potential to remind us of others, either made by folks that we know well, or made by artisans and craftsfolk who live nearby. We make Christmas gifts more personal and valuable if we either make or buy handmade objects.
I visited the holiday sale for my local weaver's guild today, the Weavers of Orlando. I was reminded there that if I buy a towel woven by Mary, then some of her essence and memory is woven into that towel. I am truly getting the work of someone else's hands, an invaluable piece of time and place.
Now I don't want to sound too sanctimonious here. I am going to buy gifts on Amazon and at Target as well. Handmade electronics would just not be feasible. But I do choose to value the work of craftsfolk and artisans, and I will gladly buy from them as well, both for myself and as gifts for others.