Let’s all shop more responsibly this year

 

 

Since Thanksgiving is over, we are now in the “holiday shopping season.” I’m still astounded that we can spend all day on Thursday being thankful for what we have, and then somehow society has taught us that on Friday, we should go out to the stores and spend our money like crazy on things we might not really need.

In some cases now, we go out on Thursday to spend all of this money. I know that sometimes there are certain things that people need that they can get a great deal on for Black Friday. Here is the deal, though — a lot of those “unbelievable” deals are just that, unbelievable. The stores don’t have a ton of stock of those extreme discount items, so while a few people may get them, most will not and will end up spending money on other things while they are there.

I saw a report recently that said that most people will spend more money on gifts this holiday season than last. It is a little crazy to me that this number goes up every year. How are we spending more and more money every year?

Even worse, during this season where we should be continuing with our thankfulness, we start feeling stressed and upset because we feel obligated to buy gifts for people. So instead of holiday cheer, a lot of people this time of year are feeling holiday fear.

Many people struggle to make ends meet during the year and feel lots of pressure to buy gifts for others this time of year. Since they don’t have the cash to spend, they put it on credit cards. The last thing I want is for someone to go into debt to buy me a gift. How have we gotten here as a society that people feel like they are obligated to shop and buy gifts for people? And sometimes those gifts aren’t even useful to the person receiving it.

I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten gifts for people when I really didn’t know what they wanted. I was winging it and I ended up buying socks that were never worn or candles that were never burned — items that just sit in drawers and on shelves until the person decides (usually with some guilt) that they are just not going to use this item and so they give it away or throw it away. And that’s just wasteful.

So over the next few weeks, I’m going to tell you all about my holiday buying guide. Instead of the hottest this or the latest that, I’m going to tell you how I avoid buying gifts that people don’t need and what I do instead. We are going to explore more environmentally friendly gifting options in a hope to make everyone’s holiday season a little more green for the environment and a little more green in your wallet. It’s pretty amazing how those two things go together a lot of times.

My first tip is to not get sucked into the holiday gimmicks. Don’t be manipulated by the advertisements that tell you that you need to buy everyone a gift or that you need to buy a specific item for someone, unless you know that’s exactly what they want. 

I have also found for people who don’t really need much of anything in particular but that you still want to purchase items for, giving a donation in their name is often a good gift. You can do this on Giving Tuesday — which I know is kind of like Cyber Monday, except all of your money is going to charity instead of corporations.

I’d also like to remind people that if you know specific gifts you want to purchase, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is always Small Business Saturday. You can go to local businesses and they often have deals and giveaways. Again, you should avoid buying into sales gimmicks, but at least on Saturday, you aren’t giving your money to a big corporation; you are giving it to your neighbors and friends. That can help them and our local economy — and make you feel good too.

 

 

About Amanda Wheeler

Amanda Wheeler is the children and teen services librarian at the Lincoln County Public Library. She has a master's in zoology education from the University of Miami and has taught as an educator at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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