Saturday, November 22, 2008

Don't Feed The Grinch


It's been all over the news; those dire predictions of gloom and doom for the economy. One has to wonder though whether the mainstream media is contributing to make these predictions a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The events of the past few years are not an act of God, like a flood or a hurricane, but the result of man's decisions here on earth; a series of events that created a domino effect and a climate of "all or nothing" thinking that has begun to take on a life of its own.

Now it seems to be common for people to react to this news with a knee-jerk reaction; cutting out spending, deciding not to exchange presents this year, putting the brakes on so fast they could almost get whiplash!

Even large companies seem to have scaled back their advertising. (I never thought I'd miss all those clever ads for Target until they were gone).

A walk through the mall today seemed eerily hollow, the halls seeming to echo, most of the brightly colored decorations conspicuously absent. There were sale signs evident in all the shops, big and small alike, yet a feeling of mailase seemed to hang in the air replacing the usual festiveness of the season. There were no twinkling lights as there had been this time last year and clothing colors did not seem to give any sign that the holidays were approaching. Except for a few red pyramids of strategically placed red metallic balls, and the temperature in the building turned down too low it would have been easy to forget what time of year it was and to think it was just any other day.

My show last weekend was a bust. After working a total of 22 hours I came home sick and about $18.00 in the hole. We artists are supposed to make a profit at such things, not actually lose money! I still have not recovered both physically and emotionally from the events of the past week or so, but I'm looking for ways to have fun despite all the "bah humbug" going around like a virus.

I firmly believe that clamping down the proverbial sphincter is not going to cure the economy, nor will it prevent whatever unforseen problems may come along. It is more the illusion of control that not spending any money gives us, and like it or not, there are more than enough problems that will come up if we live long enough that require our money, sometimes every last bit of it, so why not continue to enjoy at least some of it while we still can?

I'm not proposing that people go out tomorrow and blow their last dime, but just don't stop entirely. If we stop spending entirely then the economy will never recover. It is reasonable under the circumstances to spend less on Christmas expenses than you did last year, but eat, drink, be merry, and give gifts that are meaningful to those you love and care about, and for Godsakes, take Christmas (or other applicable holiday) off from work to spend quality time with people in your life!

For those of you especially who are creative it should not be hard to create a nice time on a budget. I have never been at a loss for something to do to have a happy and memorable holiday, (and I live way below the poverty level).

With a little ingenuity one can come up with a meal, thoughtful gifts, and even some really cool decorations. Watch carefully. I am about to show you some great examples if you need creative re-fueling. There are things you can make or buy that are heartwarming and don't cost an arm and a leg, so don't feed the Grinch. Do enjoy yourself in this season of giving.

http://kniftyhooksneedles.etsy.com/ has a wide selection of really pretty hats for only $15.00 apiece! A gift like this is not expensive but it's substantial, especially because it's well-constructed and not mass-produced.

Here are two of her hats shown below.

Winter White Coloured Retro Hat


Pink Pow with Black and White Stripes Ear Flap Hat

Now this you can hardly beat! http://rainbowswirlz.etsy.com/ is offering any 5 totebags for only $35.00! That's only $6.00 apiece folks! It's not limited to only the bags shown in the picture either. If you have 5 people to buy gifts for you can take care of them all in one purchase. Imagine that!

5 Tote Bags SALE

If somebody on your list loves pottery then check out this original signed piece by http://fancyfootwrkspottery.etsy.com/ for only $20.00

Strawberry candy dish

Here are a few great gifts for the guys in your life. http://stinkybomb.etsy.com/ makes a soap that looks like a handgrenade. Army buffs should love this.

American Grenade Soap, Army green
$10.00

For the man who does alot of writing http://styrendesigns.etsy.com/ offers this pen made with genuine turned Lacewood at the great price of only $21.00.

Handmade Lacewood Executive Style Pen

One of these Southwestern leather slide bracelets could be just what your man wants (but they can also be worn by a woman who likes that earthy, cowgirl style). Each of the three similar bracelets in my shop are available for $60.00 apiece, and with what you get for that price they're well worth it. Check these out at http://Giftbearer.etsy.com/

Unisex Southwestern Slide Bracelet (Garnet and Peridot)

Women or teens will love the simplicity of these Haiku Earrings. These are also available with frosted Amethyst. Only 2 pair of these remain. If you're on a tight budget but want to buy a nice gift these are the ticket.

Haiku (Variscite and wood) Earrings
$8.50

For children (or for animal-lovers) http://clickityclack.etsy.com/ has this realistic stuffed rabbit; at a steal for only $10.00!

Frosted Charcoal Cuddle Bunny

In addition to buying your gifts, you can also make them. If you already have something you make regularly or you have a skill you can use when needed there are lots of supplies on Etsy to help you plan for your hand-made gifts. Your loved-ones will be so excited to know that you cared enough to take the time to make them something lovely.

If you don't generally do any art or craft there are always baked items, and as long as you can follow a recipe in a cookbook there are many choices of home-baked goodies that your friends and family will enjoy, many of which only cost a few dollars to make.

For the holiday dinner invite a friend or family and make a day of it preparing some delicious food. If you play your cards right it need not cost alot. If your budget is especially tight plan a menu of something you can buy in bulk (there are some places where you can even get a good deal on a turkey if you watch sales circulars and compare prices), or make it a covered-dish dinner and have each person contribute something.

I ordered a pizza one year when my son was here and I couldn't afford a turkey. We watched a good movie in front of the TV and ate while we talked. Neither of us minded not having the traditional meal. The important thing was that we made a point of doing something special.

This Thanksgiving it looks as though it will be just me so I decided to get just a turkey breast and potatoes and I'll have that and salad, since I really don't like the dark meat anyhow and a whole Turkey would be more than I can eat for a month! I saved alot of money that way too. My son probably won't be here until around New Years, so I may have to do the same thing for Christmas. Carmella will keep me company until then.

Traditions are important. They are what keeps us connected to life and to one another. The economy is bad enough, so don't feed the Grinch by cancelling Christmas. Make a point to stimulate the economy. Remember that whatever (or whomever) you do feed will grow.

4 comments:

Forever Foxed said...

That was a very thought provoking post with lots of good ideas.

Little Dickens Designs said...

First, your dog is adorable! I agree with you completely. I'm not giving up gift-giving entirely, but trying to focus on scaling back and being more creative. And supporting more locally and handcrafted items rather than mass produced/big box stores. It's hard with the kiddos who want everything they see on TV! But I have some ideas for them too. Thanks for the reminder!

UniqueNurseGranny said...

Thoughtful but in the good times I can spend $15 a week on groceries..so have to watch costs.

kim* said...

i loved your post today so much interesting things you said. :)