Welcome to a special holiday edition of the P&B Journal! Is your inbox is cluttered with seasonal sales? Cyber Monday mayhem have you hitting "delete'? Still hungover from Black Friday fanaticism? With urgent reminders of the Christmas countdown popping up daily it is time to slow it down and take a look at how you can do your holiday shopping a little differently this year. Pearl & Birch wants to make your white Christmas a little greener in 2019 by offering some holiday buying and gift giving inspo that saves you time, money and invests in local businesses and the planet. Skip the mall, shop small and enjoy a conscious Christmas this season.
Make a list and check it twice.
The most common contributor to my overspending and last-minute mad dashes to the mall stem from a lack of planning. Making a list and referring to it often will save you time and money. It works for Santa and he has a much bigger job to do! This simple start to your season should include the names of every person you want to give to as well as any events you are attending and work-related holiday activities (finally slay the office Secret Santa this year instead of showing up with some car air freshener and windshield wipers from the gas station- it was cuter when Joey and Chandler did it).
Keep the list at your fingertips for easy access by storing it as a note in your mobile, or, if you are like me, and enjoy putting pen to paper take a picture of your most recent edits as I can promise you that list will not be helpful when you are walking into your next craft sale and it is still on your kitchen counter.
It really is the thought that counts.
There is no escaping the mass marketing machine that Christmas has become (truth: this journal entry is promoting my own seasonal sale right now). Much more a consumerist blood sport than a sentimental season of connection and celebration, the holidays have become an exhaustive ritual of shopping, spending, consuming and collecting. It is very easy to get swept up in the idea that in order to participate we have to buy, buy, buy. Our closet of dresses may seem dismal in comparison to all the new styles being pumped out by the fast-fashion machine. And it may seem easier to grab discount, shiny items that have been branded to make us think we need them when, in truth, we barely want them. Gifts are gestures of love. They should have purpose and longevity. When adding items to your list consider the needs of that person- are they a student? Do they deserve some much needed self-care services? What hobbies do they have that bring them joy? Be thoughtful in your selections. Try a present with presence by giving an experience-based gesture, the perfect option for a friend you haven't had much time with. Gifts that serve both fun and function, like a vintage jewelry box for the mother that enjoys sparkle or a set of gorgeous copper tumblers for the friend that hosts, will be lived with and loved for a long time.
Don't buy useless crap. If you are looking for a holiday outfit, choose something you know you will wear to multiple events where the guest lists are different. If the shoes are uncomfortable, don't try to convince yourself you can "make them work." If your sister already has 13 scarves, but only really enjoys wearing 2 of them, don't opt for another accessory but perhaps something they can display them on. This may even result in them rediscovering the other 11!
Shop in the name of love.
Shop local is not just a hashtag. And markets, pop-ups and craft sales have made it so much easier to explore and support small businesses and their products. Not only are you participating in the growth of the local economy but you are investing in an item that was created by a real person, who spent their time and energy making it just right for you. Whether it is a gift card for your favorite local coffee shop, a one-of-a-kind watercolor or handcrafted bitters for the bartender in your life, locally produced products have something for everyone. Businesses with store fronts will often offer seasonal sales, like our own 12 days of #GreenChristmas dropping December 3, to encourage traffic, introduce their brand to new shoppers and reward regular consumers. Consider hitting up your hair salon, brow specialist or massage therapist for gift cards and celebrating how much you love their services by sharing with others. Instagram is a great way to stay up to date on future offers and signing up for a businesses newsletter is your best chance to receive exclusive deals and insider information before a product or sales launch. Avoid online ordering and spend some time in your neighborhoods, supporting the people and places that make Winnipeg special.
Where comfortable shoes, pre-shop the exhibitors online and compare their wares to your holiday list to make sure you get the essentials from the markets your attending. Make the most of your time and purchase your gift cards during your regularly scheduled salon service or coffee date. Reduce your carbon footprint and spend a day on foot, discovering the businesses within your area. Dress warm and no matter where you go, don't forget your reusable bags!
We hope this holiday season allows you to not only connect with people, but with your values, exploring the true spirit of gift-giving and shopping. Sustainability and conscious consumerism are great buzzwords, but they are only hashtags if you end up buying from Walmart on Christmas Eve. If you really do need a new holiday dress, consider shopping secondhand (and consigning the items you are tired of while your at it!) because next year you will find yourself staring into the time capsule that is your closet and wondering why every holiday you end up spending $200 on a new party dress that you won't enjoy again when you could spend it on a wall mounted scarf rack you upcycled from the thift store, a vintage jewelry box, gift certificates for your local loves, a beautiful watercolor creation, tasty handmade bitters and an $18 velvet dress that you have styled 5 different ways from the boardroom to the ballroom.
'Tis the season, #Birches