the faith of small things

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shop with your heart
shop with your heart

On the back of Thriftober, comes Shop Small “the largest ever nationwide campaign to breathe new life into the small business sector. Running throughout November, the Shop Small movement is asking Australians to shop at small businesses in the lead-up to Christmas…

…Shop Small comes to Australia for the first time this year after campaigns in the United States and Great Britain were credited with stimulating consumer spending with small retailers and service providers. It brings together support from the business community, governments and consumers and encourages people all over Australia to support small businesses in local communities.”

Lacking the requisite credit card to participate and unconvinced of the altruism I’m not spruiking the Amex aspect of Shop Small, rather continuing to support local producers and businesses as I have done, sans the Shop Small label, Christmases past and increasingly this year via farmers markets.

Even though there are still plenty of weeks until Christmas, gift shopping has been on my mind as I need to do some of it early. The G.O. and I spend Christmas at Taylors Arm. This year the number of family we will spend Christmas Day with is, at this stage, one: the G.O.’s mum. Other family members on both sides have plans to be elsewhere. Of course things may change, but we’ll exchange early gifts with absent family members. On the day there will be small gifts under the tree for each other and the G.O.’s mum, as well as friends, so I need to do Christmas shopping.

Yes, the emphasis on “I” as in “Me, Myself & I” to an extent because working 6 days a week on a construction site, and not being au fait with the joys of on-line shopping (probably a good thing as our budget can only support so much), Christmas shopping can be the bane of his festive season.

Thanks to comments regarding nifty thrifty veering to Christmas shopping extolling the virtues of consumables, even prior to Shop Small I’d started to think along those lines. I’m not in a space, by any definition of it, to create my own consumables at the moment but as we have coming up at the beginning of December a 5 day break at Taylors Arm I considered what locavore gifts I could score from within a few kilometres of home; convenient and truly local.

So far, I’ve come up with:

Locavore consumables won’t cover off everything on our festive shopping list but it’s a starting point that means in turn those very real people I purchase gifts from will at least have a few dollars so they can do the same.

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” Mother Teresa

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35 thoughts on “the faith of small things

    Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said:
    November 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    This is a really nice post, ED, it FEELS Christmassy just reading it. That’s what it’s all about – the thinking and considering and excitement, not the amount of money spent. I’ve started to feel Christmassy quite early this year as well – last year we thought about making things for Christmas the week before the big day! Here’s my suggestion – my friend Al recently gave a 50th birthday gift that consisted of a basket of spices and other goodies from Fiji Market. :)

      EllaDee responded:
      November 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      Fiji Mart… yes! Good idea for my sisters :) Due to family Christmas Day logistics, we need to be organized early, but it’s a relief when it’s all done.
      A week before for festive consumables is reasonable but my temptation would be to not taste before the day :)

        Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said:
        November 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm

        See, this is really interesting. YOU say “Fiji Mart”, I say “Fiji Mart” and my friend Maude says “Fiji Mart”. But the guys in the shop INSIST that they’ve never been called that, they’ve always been “Fiji Market”. I was sure they’d had a name change, but apparently we all got it wrong when we were at university down the road in the early 80s, and our hardwired brains never noticed. :)

        EllaDee responded:
        November 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm

        What? It’s not Fiji Mart? No…

        http://www.au.timeout.com/sydney/shopping/venues/2379/fiji-mart

        It’s not just us :)

    dadirri7 said:
    November 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I am so impressed with your organisation EllaDee! I know that gifty time is coming (and I have grandchildren) but so much has been looming large in front of it …. perhaps your words will bring it into focus … and we are with you in ‘consumables’ ‘locavore’ ‘small business’ so I will direct my thoughts that way … but what about the grandchildren I ask? never mind … Entropy has helped me out with one, and the others are almost old enough for consumables, or musical instruments???? … but then there are ones in Paris, oh no! time for a glass of wine!

    Ardysez said:
    November 7, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks for the nice reminder Ella. My lengthy comment could not be posted due to WordPress error, I’m told. X

      EllaDee responded:
      November 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      That is disappointing :( I think WP is experiencing issues… I had trouble adding tags and links earlier :)

    davidprosser said:
    November 7, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    My Christmas shopping is in full flow . I support the local businesses where I can but on some things they just can’t compete so my ever faithful Ebay has been coming to my rescue with Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade items as well as help from Wowcher.Hereforaday and other discount places offering reduced price hairdo’s and spa days and even weekend breaks. Since I have huge problems with people, especially crowds I’m really pleased. Of course there is the problem that my bedroom is now covered with parcels so I have to leave a trail of nuts to find the bed.
    xxx Massive Hugs and good luck with the shopping xxx

      EllaDee responded:
      November 7, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      You are one of my festive season shopping inspirations, and I agree, local can extend to on-line, thank goodness :)
      I’m not a enthusiastic shopping centre goer so on-line shopping is great, but I have the parcel problem then too, either lugging them home from the office, or going to the parcel centre, and then storing everything… But, tis the season to be jolly :)

    metan said:
    November 7, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I like the idea of Xmas shopping locavore and shop small style. Since your post a while ago about doing your best to go locavore I have tried to do the same, you inspired me! I am pleased to report that now the local woollies only sees me for things I can’t avoid. It just means I have to be more organised than usual, probably a good thing anyway!
    When I noticed the Amex aspect to the shop small campaign I was unimpressed but I really like the idea of it. I usually try to buy birthday and Xmas gifts that are locally made, I’m very lucky I live in the delicious yarra valley! Chocolates, preserves, wine, hippy knitters…. all on my doorstep. :)

      EllaDee responded:
      November 7, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      Ah, yes since my post I have been doing my best too, and although there’s not been no Woolies shopping, there’s been a lot less but it does take a lot more organization and time.
      I’m skeptical re the corporate sponsorship too but the premise is sound. I’m not an enthusiastic Christmas gift/on demand/occasion shopper so that the seller benefits makes it a lot more attractive :)

    Cecile said:
    November 8, 2013 at 2:28 am

    I love Christmas (as we Americans say ‘BIG TIME’) but each year I shop less & less because I’m trying to get away from all the commercialization. It’s absolutely insane over here. How is it in Australia? Stores are now putting out decorations for sale immediately after Halloween. When I was young (I’m 60) no decorations etc. were out in the stores until after Thanksgiving. And people didn’t get into buying frenzies, such as our Black Friday. And this year — stores are starting to open at 8:00 on Thanksgiving night – it’s so unfair to the employees. OK – I’m done! ; o )

      EllaDee responded:
      November 8, 2013 at 5:54 am

      Sadly it’s the same here in the hope we will hit the department stores and malls with credit cards in hand. Christmas stuff was out before Halloween which has yet to be fully embraced in Australia. The larger stores will have extended opening hours so gift buying can be done up to 10 pm, every midnight…. how jolly for the time poor ;) And yes afterwards, particularly Boxing Day, there’s the sales, which I’ve never been to but have been described on occasion as frenzies.
      These aspects of the festive season make me sad. The big retailers though will never make a fortune from me. I too remember the old ways and days.

    Kourtney Heintz said:
    November 8, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Glad you and the G.O. may have a quieter Christmas. Sounds like he could use the break. Shopping small is a cool thing to do for gifts wherever you can. :)

      EllaDee responded:
      November 8, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Oh we’re definitely having a quiet Christmas :) And I’ll be shopping small in as many ways as I can – it’s so easy for it to get out of hand.

        Kourtney Heintz said:
        November 12, 2013 at 7:10 am

        We’ve decided to have a ban on bought gifts. Instead we are just going to enjoy each other’s company and make little things or write nice notes to each other. Should be a nice back to basics holiday. :)

        EllaDee responded:
        November 12, 2013 at 10:06 am

        When I read this it made me smile :) Sounds like fun.

    Bill said:
    November 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    We do very little shopping at Christmas any more. No doubt we have reputations as grinches among our family and friends, who we asked years ago to please stop buying us gifts. We still have to buy a few things each year, for those family members (such as my mother) who no matter what we say and do would interpret no gift as a sign that we no longer love her. Sigh.

    I wish gift-giving was reserved for children (as it is in some European countries) and was limited to a few items, rather than the consumeristic orgy that Christmas has become here.

    When gifts are appropriate, I love the idea of getting them from small local businesses, preferably items that will be consumed.

      EllaDee responded:
      November 9, 2013 at 7:53 am

      Yes, sigh :) We experience the same. I agree the Christmas gift experience is best for kids, and they only need so much as well…. I have tried to suggest no gifts for adults, especially as we don’t all gather under the same tree on the day for the best part, the opening. I just see money being wasted, and it takes the edge of my enjoyment of Christmas, but at least this way what we spend might help someone else.

    acflory said:
    November 9, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Thanks for the reminder. I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t been shopping, except for food, and even that only when the fridge AND the pantry are bare. Somehow I’m going to have to start making time for presents. Gah…

      EllaDee responded:
      November 9, 2013 at 7:56 am

      You have been busy, but it’s not Christmas gift crisis time yet, it’s just I need to be organized early. If you are at the local shops and see something as you go about, maybe picking up one or two items will help in the end :)

        acflory said:
        November 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm

        Yes, picking up one or two things as I see them used to be how I’d cope, but this year I only ever seem to go food shopping. I’ll have to start making a point of going out and lookiing. Bah… :(

    Vicky said:
    November 9, 2013 at 8:27 am

    How organised you are :-)
    I’m afraid I’m a real bah humbug, I hate the hustle and bustle, the panic buying, the TV ads etc etc. and just can’t bring myself to think about it, let alone do anything.
    I could quite easily jet off to a desert island in the sun.

      EllaDee responded:
      November 9, 2013 at 8:50 am

      I’m not really organized, I haven’t bought a thing yet. I’m just doing reconnaissance, and reconciling myself that the dollars spent will do some good.
      I enjoy Christmas, the essence of it, not all the accoutrements. Since it seems to be now inextricably linked, escaping it sounds wonderful :)

    philosophermouseofthehedge said:
    November 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Suddenly last night I woke up going “AAAhhhhh, Christmas presents!” This is a small town in some ways and there are little shops with items you won’t find at the mall. Parking is so much easier and the people nicer – and we all want these little shops to stay in business – so that’s where I’m going. But even so planning on not buying so much stuff – I grew up with the tradition of a pretty small modest Christmas as far a presents. My husband grew up with the giant tree and mounds of presents. It was always a battle to keep it sane. We don’t have much family close anymore. Now I’d rather do little presents – with trips to the museums or ballet instead or wrapped gifts. The sights and sounds are so much more fun to me.

      EllaDee responded:
      November 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      Oh yes, the essence of Christmas and what we remember all these years later is the people, the day and how it was experienced… oh except for the year of the bride doll ;) … no matter how grand the gifts.
      Proper streets of shops, I love them, where you go regularly so that Christmas Shopping isn’t an Event, and you know the cash you part with will help someone else have a nice Christmas, not just fall into Corporate Coffers.

    ChgoJohn said:
    November 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Like you, I’m buying less and less with each Christmas. Where I once bought poinsettias for a number of Mom’s friends, I now contribute to Oxfam, fully outfitting children for the school year. I do the same for some family members and give baskets of homemade goods to close friends. I’d much rather spend a day in the kitchen than 1 in the mall. :)

      EllaDee responded:
      November 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      What a kind thoughtful idea, and clever to donate to Oxfam instead of gifts… hmmm. My workplace does that to an extent, we usually get an Oxfam Unwrapped gift.
      I would rather everyone I buy gifts for came for lunch or dinner, to see us, and to cook for them rather than gifts but the logistics aren’t with me.
      I’m glad you commented, and you are safe & well :)

    The Wanderlust Gene said:
    November 28, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I’m so glad you’re keeping to the buy local, buy small philosophies – I suppose it’s something many of us remember with nostalgia and are becoming more and more aware of, but for some reason it seems we sometimes need a bit of a nudge! Me, I don’t do Christmas any more – except with regard to the pleasure of my company! :)

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 11:58 am

      I’ve always gift bought local to an extent but sometimes the convenience of online shopping and deliveries bypassing retail madness has lured me.
      We’re heading the same way for Christmas. We find it harder and harder to conjure meaningful gifts :)

        The Wanderlust Gene said:
        November 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

        Yeah – meaningful is the problem, isn’t it?

        With no family now, and friends without children or young relatives, it seems so much better to at last agree to change our gift-giving ways. :)

    mybrightlife said:
    December 2, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    No worse energy than stomping through a shopping Mall fighting off crowds in search of last minute gifts. Am determined this year to continue down the road of less is more and meaningful matters. Thanks for the inspiration!

      EllaDee responded:
      December 6, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Thank you :) Shop local, I since found, isn’t the convenient exercise of ghastly shopping malls. I had to slow down and take my time to enjoy the benefits of shop local, have a chat and interact… trying to do it in a hurry is a disaster…

    […] been reading EllaDee’s posts on shopping locally and it got my mind churning. Then last Saturday was the shop small initiative where you go to local […]

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