It's a similar deal with the xmas gift exchange. I get a kick out of the challenge of finding the right present for the people I care about, but there are more people I care about than my time/money budget can cope with. And, like many folks, I take issue with the uber-consumerist insanity that this time of year has a tendency to perpetuate.
In a lot of cases, I just try to see people, share some good food and drink, and enjoy the company. But there are still a few people I need (and want) to buy for, which raises a whole string of related quandaries... How do I satisfy several important, but often competing criteria, while on the quest to find the right gift?
My main goals:
- support local and independent businesses, especially socially-conscious and vegan-friendly ones (or use gift-giving as a way of supporting important charities)
- get people something they can actually use, need and appreciate (and avoid contributing to unnecessary clutter or waste)
- be generous but thrifty (and I don't have any particular talent for making gifts)
- Bazaar of the Bizarre: neat, usually handmade stuff, much of it vegan-friendly. The holiday version takes place in Toronto on December 11.
- Vegan Etsy: discovered this through Sick on Sin. The worldwide shipping might be a turn-off for the greener shoppers, but there's also a chance there's a member nearby, wherever you may be.
- Local farmer's market (Hamilton version): aside from the usual fruits and veggies, local markets tend to be a go-to source for delicious baked and prepared treats, but they often feature great homemade crafts as well.
- Artists' co-ops and galleries: Hamilton features at least a couple of stores run by or supporting local artists and filled with their unique creations, and I expect this is true of many cities. I've happily perused the goodies at Textures and AllSorts Gallery.
- Simply Zen: begun as an online business, this eco- and vegan-friendly shop in Hamilton has an amazing array of gift-giving possibilities packed into a relatively small space. Smells good too!
- Animal shelters and wildlife protection: as a Burlington Humane Society volunteer I came home with several gift baskets designed for friends' and family members' pets. But there are other ways to support groups that care for animals while working through your xmas shopping list, and donations are only the start! (but giving someone a surprise pet is NOT recommended)
- Metal: how could I complete any list of gift giving suggestions without at least one shout-out to metal? From a heavy-metal playlist designed with someone's particular tastes in mind, to an independent/underground artist's merch, to concert tickets or a music DVD, it's hard to go wrong with metal (well, as far as I'm concerned, anyway). A few potential sources - Sonic Unyon Metal, Catacombs, Dr. Disc.