It seems that we can't avoid the negativity. Everywhere we look, there are more signs of an economic downturn. The experts may call it by a bunch of different terms, but we all know what it is.
Austin has been a bit shielded from the worst of the crisis thus far. The housing and job markets have been holding up comparatively well. Even so, in recent weeks I have heard of cutbacks and layoffs at several major employers here. My own family and several friends have been directly affected. Now we are beginning the holiday season, and retailers are expecting that consumers will be spending less this year. I know many of you reading this are trying to make your dollars stretch more and more.
I read an article in Yoga Journal this month about thoughtful giving, and the gifts described in the article were not necessarily expensive. Some were homemade, one was a lucky vintage find. I also was browsing on Etsy lately, and thinking about the wide variety of wonderful things that can be found there. It occurs to me that by being more mindful in our giving, we can stretch our dollars AND give great gifts.
This holiday season, I challenge you (and myself!) to avoid the last minute rush to the mall or some big box store to hastily fill out our gift list. Instead, let's do some good by supporting local artists and retailers, and find some great deals on original items that will hold some personal meaning for you and your loved ones. In the process, we can help provide income to local people, and help get them through the holidays, as well. I always feel good knowing that when I buy from someone at a craft or art show, I am directly supporting them and helping them pay their bills. Sure beats contributing to the bottom line of some big company, that won't miss my few measly dollars one bit!
With all the layoffs and slowdowns, many local artists are counting on holiday sales even more than the big guys. So as the mad rush of the holidays begins, look for local artists on Etsy, and check out the list of Austin area shows and events on this page (just to the right of this post) and get out there and support some local artists. When you do, your gift will count twice!