Do you want every gift you give to be from the heart? Do you dream about ending the power of materialism at Christmastime? Is encouraging sustainable community on your list for next year? Do you like championing local designers? Would you like to bring any of these values into your Christmas celebrations? If so, then the Handmade Pledge might be for you.
It's nice to say that we'd like to get back to the "true meaning of Christmas," but what does that really mean? It's nice to say that we want Christmas to be about family and friends, sharing and caring, relationships and not consumerism, but how can we accomplish that when the ads for HD TVs, Sony PS3s, and iPhones fill our magazines, mail, and inboxes? Going indie for a Christmas just might help facilitate those desires.
When I shop indie, I'm buying a hadmade, hand-designed gift for someone I love. I may not be able to design it myself, but I can give it to support that organic creative process. When I think about an indie gift, I have to really know my friends and family members so I can get them something that is not only specially crafted for them, but that they will love. There's no point in buying handmade just to do it--I still want to give someone a gift that will bring them joy. When I buy indie, that means that I'm not buying some gadget or a DVD that, while appreciated, is not particularly personal. I'm stepping out of consumerism and into relationship, because of the amount of thought and planning that goes into purchasing an indie gift.
It's easy to think that buying indie means buying something of a lower quality. That's what our factory-driven, mass-produced culture tells us. But the truth is actually the opposite. When a craftsperson makes something by hand, they are making it because they love the making and they love the object. The put a lot of themselves into their work, and they want their work to reflect that love and investment. Therefore, many indie goods are of higher quality than their factory-produced counterparts. Another benefit? Many indie craftspeople have superb return policies. If something isn't right or isn't exactly as they advertised or you agreed on, or if it falls apart quickly, they are willing to fix the problem, whether that means repairing it, replacing it, or refunding your money.
The culture of indie designers is amazing. They support each other, help each other out, and generally are excited about each others' work and want each other to succeed. It amazes me. These are the kind of people I want to support with my choices and my money; they're smart, funny, innovative, creative, community-oriented, and more. They believe in quality over quantity and that investing your heart in a product means something good. I want these people to succeed, because I want more indie options when I shop. Therefore, I want to give them my money now.
So...what's stopping you? Take the Handmade Pledge now, and put your money where your deepest holiday desires are (or use the comments to tell me why you're not, so I can try to convince you otherwise!)
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