Saturday, November 26, 2005

My Shameless Holiday Commercialism Post

I did not -- would not -- take part in the Black Friday shopping madness this year, but today I found myself wandering around a local Kmart in a state of shellshock, pushed and shoved by frantic shoppers and tugged at by the Maternal Unit, who is very adamant that we invest in an artificial Christmas tree. (It didn't happen today.)

I am now sitting with my feet up, regrouping. For those of you who'd rather do your Christmas shopping sitting in your PJ's and bunny slippers, sipping coffee -- a few suggestions from me:

I've bought fair trade food products, ceramics and jewelry from A Greater Gift and have been very satisfied with both the quality and with speed of delivery. I'm putting together a "death by chocolate" Christmas basket for our office's annual Chinese gift exchange (don't ask) with help from their line of Divine chocolate products, which really are divine...most toothsome. And one of my favorite pieces of jewelry is a colorful, funky-chunky glass bead fair trade necklace from A Greater Gift.

Green Mountain Coffee rocks. And it has an extensive line of organic and fair trade coffees, including flavored blends that are sometimes hard to find elsewhere. They also sell a Heifer Hope blend that benefits The Heifer Project .

If you're able and willing to be a little spendy, a foodie friend might appreciate a gift from American Spoon Foods , out of Petoskey, Michigan, a purveyor of very tasty and unusual specialty food products, very often spotlighting Michigan produce. I recently tasted a delicious mango-jalapeno salsa from American Spoon -- obviously not a signature Michigan food, but it was mighty tasty swirled into soft cream cheese.

For that giftee who believes cleanliness to be next to godliness, a really fun website to visit is Killmaster Soapworks . I met the Soapmistress of Killmaster Soapworks at an art fair awhile back -- she and her family manage a small farm with a multitude of different livestock, and she utilizes their milk in her soaps -- she even makes a mare's milk soap. I have tried her more pedestrian oatmeal soaps and loved their scent and sudsiness. Another favorite soapmaker 'round these parts is Bedazzled of Benzonia, which makes all sorts of yummy soaps -- the minty soaps are a favorite of mine, as well as the bay rum and a pleasantly woodsy/resinous frankincense and myrrh (which isn't on the website, but I bet they'd sell it to you anyway). Bedazzled also sells candles and other products made with bee products.

Down the road from Bedazzled is the Gwen Frostic Studio , an "up north" institution. Frostic was an artist, poet and right-on woman who followed the beat of a different drum her whole life and enriched us all by doing so. Her simple and sometimes whimsical nature prints always make me long for a long weekend up by the dunes.

For tonstant weaders who enjoy my occasional stained-glass graphics -- check out the Christmas cards and other products at Stained Glass Photography . And if you enjoy Carl Larsson prints, check out Scandinavian Treasures .

And, of course, if you scroll down my blogroll, you will find my ongoing plug for the RevGals' Advent and Christmas devotional, A Light Blazes in the Darkness. Get 'em while they're hot! The've already paid for themselves, and are now raising money for hurricane relief in the Gulf. We're shooting for sales of a thousand -- help make it happen.

There -- wasn't that more fun than playing offense in the mall?


BruceA said...

These are great ideas! I'm glad I stopped by, because I was in the middle of writing my own alternative Christmas ideas post. I'm going to link to your post.

Quotidian Grace said...

I'm the total online shopper. I would rather be shot than get caught in the crowds at the mall on Black Friday--or any other time. Thanks for these links, I still need a few presents!

Charlotte said...

Shop today and beat the CyberMonday rush!

Lorna said...

where does the name black Friday come from?

LutheranChik said...

Charlotte: You mean, on Monday when I'm supposed to be writing my monthly reports?;-)

Lorna: It refers to accounting -- "in the black," versus "in the red." The day after Thanksgiving has been seen as the "make or break" selling day for retailers -- an indication whether or not they're going to end the year making a go of it.

bls said...

You know, I have an artificial tree - I inherited it - that's not doing anything this season (or any other).

I'd be happy to send it out there to you guys. Why spend the dough?

"Black Friday," I believe, is the day when merchants finally get "into the black" - i.e., they turn a profit at last.

LutheranChik said...

Bls: That is so generous, and such a great offer! But, see, one of the issues in our household is that in years past I have been bringing home the wrong kind of tree, because my mother wasn't with me to supervise me. Because I need to be supervised, you see. This is what I've been told. And because of this, Mom is adamant that she pick out the artificial tree, so I don't botch the tree thing again. And this way, when she gets the inevitable buyer's remorse, instead of blaming me for buying the wrong tree, she'll just blame me for not stopping her from buying the tree.;-) That's how it works on our planet. (You know that Medicare Part D commercial where the woman says, "I just made up for 40 years of disappointing my parents?"...I told my mother, "Well, it looks like you're going to have to wait.")

On a cheerier note -- she said, "If you have to have real greens, why don't you buy a real wreath?" So that's something.

J.C. Fisher said...

No offense to the "Buy Nothing on Black Friday" protestors, but---

For several months, I've wanted to buy a (minimally-functional) cell phone for As.Cheap.As.Possible.

I'd seen one for $19.99. The only problem? Of course, Moloch Itself: WalMart.

Then, while wasting away the final hours of Turkey Day, I saw a TV commercial for "Early Bird" specials at Radio Shack . . . including a cell phone for $19.99!

Not only did that enable me to avoid patronizing Moloch, but there is an RS right here in Outer-Outer-Podunk (aka Albion MI): so I can keep my $ local, too!

Yay, Black Friday . . . now, back to the important things: a blessed Advent, y'all! :-)

Rainbow Pastor said...

Artificial trees--the great black hole of my Christmas!
Y'see, I had to get one when TO's asthma kicked up a notch and he started wheezing at the bare mention of evergreen (well, OK, so I exaggerated for Dramatic Effect, but still). So I bought one.
And then, I had it, so why spend $ on another? Finances are tight, and we have a tree, and not a dime spent. So there you are.
I love a real tree, though.
Let me add, too, that we have two cats who have never seen a live tree in the house--they were rough enough on the fake one, the live one wouldn't make it past St. Nicholas' Day!

Katherine said...

thanks for the fantastic suggestions!

Anonymous said...

Buy Nothing Christmas is a great site, although I am not really "buying nothing" this here. I am, however, trying to make some of my gifts.

LutheranChik said...

I tried a Buy Nothing Christmas one year. My mother and I agreed that we wouldn't buy each other anything -- that we'd direct our giving energies to my aunt and to names on the local "angel tree" -- but then she reneged, and when I found out about it I reneged, and it just didn't fly. [rueful grin] I have to say, the only shopping that truly makes me happy at Christmas is anonymous shopping for other people...I love doing this. All the joy of the season, with none of the relational baggage.

LutheranChik said...

J.C. Radio Shack is great. I don't know if Meijer's is any less of a Moloch than Wallyworld, but I'd drive 30 miles out of my way to shop at a Meijer rather than the W Place.