Occupy the Holidays!
by Hollye Dexter
Hey there, 99-percenters. Great job out there, standing strong against corporate greed. When I see the photos on facebook of you all gathered together, your masses overwhelming Wall Street, I feel proud. And although I’m not able to be there physically, I’ve been thinking of ways that I can stand with you.
We all know what we’re standing against- corporate greed and control. But let’s think about what we’re standing for. The 99 % consists of middle and low-income American’s who want to preserve our right to the American Dream. We occupy and chant and march and spread the word through facebook and the media. And yet, on the way home it’s so darned easy to stop at Walmart for diapers or a coffee maker. Old habits die hard.
This Holiday season, puh-leeze, let’s not fatten the corporate CEO’s bonuses by blindly following their advertising commands. Wake up America! They are charging at us full force right now, running sentimental Holiday ads before Halloween (inspiring my husband to shout at the television, “Get your Christmas out of my pumpkin’s ass!”)
Year after year, we’ve lined up like zombies to buy and consume, overextending our credit cards because we’ve believed their advertised promise that we can buy our family’s happiness. Sure, we’re out of work because they shut our factory down and sent our jobs to China, but, we assure ourselves, it’s been a rough couple years and after all, don’t we deserve a little happiness? So we stuff our shopping carts with items cheaply made overseas, rewarding the very corporations who have outsourced our jobs and left the American dream dying on the vine. No more!
This Holiday season, let’s occupy rational thinking. Let’s show them who the 99 percent are by the choices we make in this season of consuming. What is the holiday season all about anyway? It’s about giving, and generosity, supporting your fellow man. Stop and think about who you’re supporting as you make your holiday purchases.
Change your thinking, and consider some alternatives in gift-giving this year.
Buy locally from small businesses. Buy crafts from local artisans. Online, check out etsy.com/local. Support Small Business Saturday on November 26th. (Check it out on facebook.)
Buy from your local farmer’s market. Specialty foods like nuts, honey, fruits, beeswax candles, flowers and plants make beautiful gifts.
Buy books and music from your local independent bookseller. If you don’t have one, buy independent, online. (Check out indiebound.org)
Buy American made. Simply google “American made” and you’ll be shocked at how many options there are for small businesses making products right here in the U.S.
Give something handmade. This could be crafts, mix CDs or photos, baked goods.
Give something recycled. Purchase treasures at a yard sale, local thrift store or hand down something of value.
Give gifts that give back- A $25 gift certificate to KIVA.org allows you to invest in another family’s livelihood either in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world. It’s a fun project to embark on with older kids. You can keep track of the family business you are funding, and eventually, when your loan is repaid, you can invest it in another family.
My family made these changes a few years ago, and it’s been so much fun to see what everyone comes up with. I found great books for everyone in my family at a library sale, and handmade quilts at a local arts fair. My sister in law found heart shaped plates at a yard sale, perfect for my son and his new wife, who were married on Valentine’s day. We found our five-year old a brand new unopened box of Rock’em Sock ‘em Robots at a thrift store. It’s that much more of a thrill when you make finds like that – sort of puts the “hunt” back in shopping.
So friends, join us, and OCCUPY THE HOLIDAYS! Spread the word, get your friends and family on board. We hold the power. Let’s use it for good.