Sunday, December 28, 2008

Where to buy?

I was reading an interesting news story and discussion a few days ago. It was about an African American family who have decided that for a year, they will spend all their disposable income by only patronizing businesses run by African Americans. They have $10,000 a month disposable income. That part I have a hard time wrapping my head around! LOL. Anyway, the discussion that followed the story was interesting. Some people (privileged, pompous white people) have been calling the family racists. It's not like the family said, "Hey, we hate everyone who isn't African American, so we're only going to patronize African American businesses." It is their money, and they're allowed to do what they want with it. Just like we have a right to do whatever we chose with our money. It's got me thinking a lot about where our money goes.

I am pretty careful about where I buy stuff, but my second New Year's resolution is to pay even closer attention to purchases and where they come from. There are several things I try to look for with a business. I prefer to patronize small businesses, and I prefer to patronize businesses that have high standards for their business practices (environmentally and ethically responsible) or benefit charity. We don't have the kind of disposable income that allows us to never shop at Target. We can make responsible choices though. One of our goals is to reduce our carbon footprint, so we will be making a conscious effort to reduce our consumerism. I really want to make sure that the things we do buy come from companies that fit the above criteria.

We did a pretty good job with Christmas. I love that our families are on board with similar ideals as well. At least, they haven't seemed to have hated the homemade gifts they got! LOL. Livi got a homemade dress from her grandma, and my SIL and BIL gave us homemade ornaments with pictures of our kiddos. Louis got two cool toys from Mom and Dad from one of the neatest stores ever All Things Renewable (Trey got me a couple of things from there, too!). I made Beth Ann a pair of socks and a scarf, Olivia a scarf, Ray a pair of pillows for his bed and a set of juggling balls with a bag, and a set of crocheted blocks with a bag for Louis. Louis got a couple of Blue's Clues (his absolute favorite!) videos that I got off Freecycle (the Harry Potter material for the bags came from Freecycle as well). I ordered sword and shield and my nephew Dylan's pull toy from my favorite wooden toy manufacturer Doodletown Toys. Trey's gift came from a small family owned company (of course, that was the only choice for his gift! LOL.). My MIL's gift was bought through a school fundraiser. One of my daughter Olivia's gifts came from a friend who had cleaned out things from her daughters' stuff. Louis also got a book from my favorite local bookstore The Tattered Cover. I think there were other cool things, but I can't remember off the top of my head right now.

Christmas morning felt good. It felt good see them open gifts that I felt good about giving them. I want to feel good about the purchases that I make. So my second resolution for the coming year is to make mindful, responsible purchases.

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