Now that we're fully into the Christmas shopping season, maybe some of you feel a little like myself and question whether we should be spending all this money on things we may not need. Now I know that as an artist that I shouldn't really be talking about needs versus wants for X-mas presents because most people don't consider putting good art on the wall as a necessity. However, I think that it we're going to participate in this mass consumerism, we should buy meaningful well thought-out gifts. Perhaps we could even buy items that do double-duty by being enjoyed by the recipient and the world at large. This is one of the many reasons why some people have made the "Handmade Pledge". By supporting small and independent artisans who create meaningful, well crafted, and small editioned pieces, we support processes that pose less of an impact on the earth and hopefully more of an impact on the recipient. I believe people appreciate the effort that they can see that has been made by someone's hand.
If you would like to take this idea a little further and ensure your gift is meaningful then I would like to suggest a couple sites for your online shopping.
The first site is Ten Thousand Villages which promotes fair trade craft items from people all over the world. Their site boasts numerous beautifully hand-crafted items for on the tree and under the tree. Last year I bought a beautifully decorated paper weight from Indonesia.
The second site is World Vision which has done a fantastic job of actually creating a Christmas catalogue to order from. While there are no items for under the tree here, the buyer does get to supply families in the third world with life-saving gifts such as medicine , books and live-stock. I love how the print catalogue has presented items to appeal to children. You may buy "The Three Little Pigs" or "Billy Goats Gruff" for a family and change their world for the better. You can pick the items yourself or you can give "gift cards" to the recipient and they can choose what items they want to donate.
So if this year you're beginning to wonder if you should really purchase the latest gadget that will be thrown out next year , maybe giving a few gifts from these sites might appeal to you. Happy X-mas shopping!