The shopping frenzy of the weekend after Thanksgiving can be great for those go-getters who relish the thrill of a good deal, but then there are those of us for whom the Black Friday rush is an absolute nightmare. Crowds, waking up before dawn, waiting in line, time-pressured calculations of the best deals…these are the elements of my personal hell.
Of course, the reason this shopping weekend is so popular is that we all want to participate in the fun of giving presents without going bankrupt. It can be a challenging balancing act, but here are a few tips on how to flip the script on holiday giving this year:
1.Use Amazon Smile. Use it!!!
This is a no-brainer. If you use Amazon Smile, a percentage of everything you buy from Amazon is donated to a nonprofit of your choice at no additional cost to you. NOTHING changes about what you can buy, how much it costs or anything about your holiday experience! It's holiday shopping and giving as usual, except it's BETTER because you're making the world a better place through no extra effort on your part! Just bookmark smile.amazon.com, choose your favorite charity and let the warm fuzzies wash over you.
2.Give Ethically Sourced Gifts
Like it or not, one of the biggest ways individuals can make a difference is by voting with their dollars. Let the powers that be know what you value by buying gifts that reflect your values.
If you are concerned about the people who make your products being paid living incomes and working in safe environments, look for the fair trade certification.
If you want to take practical action to help the environment, shop local and/or organic as much as you can for holiday meals and consider eating less meat this year.
If all else fails, more and more traditional retailers are making social good a priority. Lots of products will give part of their profit to a good cause (like in Heifer's Marketplace)–consider giving those companies priority as you pick out gifts this year!
3.Give a donation to their favorite charity
We've said it before and we'll say it again: many people would actually prefer a donation to a cause they care about in lieu of a material gift at Christmas. This is the perfect way to give a gift that is thoughtful and meaningful those people on your list who seem to have it all, who aren't into holidays or the ones for whom you just can't figure out what they would like.
The key to giving a chartibale donation in lieu of a gift without coming across as self-righteous is to make sure you're giving to a cause the recipient cares about–not your personal favorite.
If part of the fun for you is the part where your giftee opens up a festive package and is surprised by the contents, you can have fun picking out a material token to pair with your charitable donation that symbolizes the gift. Might we suggest a plush goat to pair with a donation of a goat from Heifer International?