Dismantling the Patriarchy: Holiday Edition

This was originally posted on UpRoot – the blog createdby our intrepid Education team at HAVEN. Check them out.

In the meantime think about different ways to celebrate the season of giving.

For me, it is incredibly easy to go through the motions of the holiday season, especially when it comes to giving gifts. I generally run into Target and try to find that perfect shade of purple nail polish for my sister (which I have failed at three years in a row now) or find a hat for my dad that he will probably wear around the house all winter (Dad, it’s meant to be worn outdoors). And I don’t usually think much of it.

But with Walmart workers striking and the madness around Black Friday getting a little out of control, this year I can’t ignore the way that the holidays increase our dependence on goods and culture of materialism and shopping. I have actually been considering more about how to give practical, local, or sustainable gifts this holiday season without buying into all the holiday hype.

There are no easy answers on how to oppose capitalism and challenge consumerism. I’m having this conversation and writing with post knowing full well that for many people, shopping at WalMart or getting presents at other chain stores will be the best option for them this holiday season. This is not at all to make some feel guilty for their purchasing habits. But for those who are so inclined, let’s think about some small things we can do to resist consumerism if you are choosing to give gifts this holiday season.

Considering buying from local businesses. This could mean gifting local beer or wine, crafts from small businesses or co-op, or even a gift card or trip out to your favorite local restaurant.

Try making your own gifts, if you are already crafty or are willing to give it a try. I hear that Pintrest is great for ideas. You might even be able to re-use items like clothing that no longer fit or other household items that aren’t being used. Check out a local thrift store or antique shops for inspiration or supplies.

Commission a local artist to create something you can give as a gift. If you are an artist yourself, create art for your friends and family. If you’re a musician, write someone a song or just play one for him or her. I’m sure they would love to have an original piece of art or music.

And now for a shameless plug: you can donate in someone’s name to a non-profit or charitable organization like HAVEN. If you love UpRoot’s content, you can choose to designate your donation to Prevention Education. If you want to donate to another organization, just remember to do your research on how the money is being spent.

Try experiences instead of gifts. Go to a concert, support a local band, visit a museum or other non-profit organization, take a trip and patronize a small motel or family owned bed and breakfast.

Give some of these things a try if you can! What others ideas do you all have to resist consumerism this holiday season? – Kathryn

Of course you can support HAVEN by purchasing hand made glass ornaments from the artisans at Epiphany Glass in Pontiac and our HAVEN holiday cards.

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