In My Etsy Shop

On the Needles


« Stitches West 2011 | Main | New York City, and Rhinebeck 2010 »

Giving Thanks

For Thanksgiving, a mini-rant, and a pile of gratitude.

I was talking to a good friend of mine yesterday who also owns her own business. We were talking about Thanksgiving, about holiday shopping, about the economy. It's well known that the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the single busiest shopping season of the year. Many retailers make their entire year's worth of profit this month. The pressure if on, not only for the retailers, but for us, the shoppers, to buy buy buy.

Since November 1st, I've noticed that my inbox has been filled with all of these emails. You know the ones -- we're all getting them, I'm sure: 

"Get your Black Friday Deals today!"

"Don't wait for Cyber Monday! Shop NOW"

"60% off everything in the store TODAY ONLY!!!!!!"

There's such a sense of urgency to them, as if buying up their piles of stuff will somehow make the world a better place, my life more fulfilling, that by buying that new pair of Gap jeans, I'll singlehandedly be supporting the economy. 

My friend told me that a certain large, multinational retailer was opening at 3 a.m. on Friday with post-Thanksgiving deals. THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. Does this strike anyone else as insane? 

Hey, do you remember that time the security guard at a Walmart was stampeded to death by a crowd of early morning shoppers? 

It's all been making me think: What if we didn't go to Walmart, or Kohl's, or Macy's on Friday? 

What if, instead, we took that money that we were going to spend on things that we don't really need, supporting giant corporations that don't really need us, and instead put it toward something beautiful, something handmade, something filled with love and thought.

What if we spent that money locally, at the independently owned yarn shop, or locally owned gourmet foods store, or independent bookstore, or tiny Etsy shop run by a single mom in Colorado?

What if, instead of a pile of things, we gave our loved one a single, special, locally grown, carefully crafted piece of art?

I hope I don't sound all "I know better than you." That's not what I mean at all. Really, what I mean is that all these offers and sales and discounts make me feel like all of these corporations are saying, "you can't afford our stuff unless we give it to you for free." Or "You and yours aren't good enough to deserve this at full price." And: "Quantity over quality."

But I don't agree. I am worth it, and so are you.

As a retail shop owner who makes her living based on her customer's continued willingness to spend money in her shop, it might strike you as odd and rather insane that I'm going to say this, but I'm going to: 

Stay home on Friday. 

Don't go shopping. 

Don't buy into the frenzy of sales and slashed prices and discounts. 

Eat a leftover turkey sandwich, read the newspaper, hug your mom or your brother or your significant other. Watch football. Don't watch football. Pick up your knitting, or your quilting. Walk your dog or your cat or your armadillo.

Take a moment to breathe and enjoy the day. 

But Don't Go Shopping. 

Your money is worth more than that. Your time, your family, your friends, your holiday season are worth more than 60% off the latest fashions. 

This friend of mine owns a lovely shop, and they're closed on Friday. The "biggest shopping day of the year," and she's shuttering her doors, giving her staff the day off, and decorating the shop for Christmas. I think that's a lovely idea.

I've been thinking hard about this a lot lately. I own a tiny yarn shop, so I know the value of each and every dollar I earn. I know how much love and labor goes into each sale I make. And I know how much love and labor goes into each purchase each one of my beloved customers makes from me. I love each and every skein I dye, and I love each and every skein that I sell and I appreciate every home my yarn goes to.

We hear it often: these are trying economic times, for all of us. 

But isn't that all the more reason to value each dollar, value each person, and value each purchase? I want to make my holiday dollars go further not by buying ten things for a huge discount. Instead, I want to make my holiday dollars go further by giving things that count, by supporting someone like me, who owns their own business and crafts their own art, whatever that art is.  

Okay, rant over.

In the spirit of independent, art, local and love, I want to send out a big, fat Thank You to a small fraction of the independent and/or local businesses that have supported me and whom I have supported over the years. Thank you all for being here, for your independent spirit, for making my life better in some way.

Bobbin's Nest Studio

Diesel, A Bookstore

Phydeaux Designs

The Fiber Fix


Knitty City

The Tinsmith's Wife

The Loopy Ewe




Yoga Health Center

Planet Granite

Kepler's Books

Berkeley Bowl

 And thank you to all of the people in my life: friends and family, both old and new, fiber-y and climb-y. 

Happy Thanksgiving!





References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Wool Candy: The Sweet Life. No Bitter Pooling. - Blog - Giving Thanks

Reader Comments (3)

This is such a great post. I'm thankful that I have the means to support independent businesses (especially as I'm working toward becoming one myself) and that I have the luxury of choosing quality over quantity.

Thank you for making such beautiful yarns!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Right on! I too find the sense of urgency in these ads unnerving, no make that insulting. I refuse to get caught up in the spending frenzy, and probably enjoy my holidays more than some. The only shopping I did the whole weekend was at our locally owned family run nursery and amazing LYS. Pine trees and circular needles, one to plant one to make a gift.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStacey

In this modern and fashionable society, people are pursuing for moncler cool, unique, stylish and innovative. Whether it is moncler jackets or fashion accessories all means a lot for modern society of today. Same is the case with trendy looking moncler outlet. When these are moncler online, the excitement just gets doubled. Most chic looking moncler coats are in fashion now. These are one of the favorite fashion accessories for men and women long time ago. If you have not yet tried Nike tn, it's time to own one and feel the difference it can make to your personality. These are just brilliant and fabulous Nike shox. They are most iconic and can provide you with a new feeling and enhance confidence. The quality of ugg boots sale is just superior to what you have dreamt of. Today owning a new and trendy looking discount uggs are not only meant for the wealthy people. These are now made luxurious and affordable cheap boots to reach out to every budget and range. You can just enjoy them by ordering chaussures nike online where you get the complete satisfaction and genuine quality at best possible rates. The finish, quality and designs you get from air max are really astonishing and you will love them all. Different styles and designs of Nike air max are now available to make your wrist beautiful. You can choose from the wide variety of Hollister sale by comparing lots of perfect and stunning pieces. These hollister clothing would be nice investments for you in long term. These Hollister uk are brilliant and prove to be wonderful for you while it makes you stand out of the crowd. The dashing and extraordinary Hollister you get will attract every eye in a crowd and makes you feel more confident.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterchaussures nike

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>