‘Greener You’ Challenge #36 – Shop Small, Shop Local, Shop Secondhand

With the exception of giving gifts to our kids, our family stopped the tradition years ago, which we talk about in this week’s podcast. If holiday shopping brings you joy, however, then continue the practice, but ask these three questions before you buy:

Could I purchase it secondhand? With all purchases, this is my first question. Its lower price tag and a lower carbon footprint make it my favorite option. I take great pleasure in buying gently used toys, most of which look brand new. Consider shopping on Facebook Marketplace or at local thrift, resale, and consignment shops. Check out Poshmark and Mercari for gifts, too.

Could I buy it locally? Instead of clicking “Add To Cart,” support a local business. Each year, our family shops at a local Christmas market with 100+ local vendors. This year I bought a stunning pinecone wreath from Kathy who gave me her card and said to call if it ever needed sprucing, and she’d repair it for free. Fact: $68 of every $100 spent locally continues to circulate in the local economy.

Could I buy it from a small business? The other day I was at CVS and saw a cute “Countdown to Christmas” sign, which I almost bought. Then I thought to check Etsy where there were even better options. The one that arrived in today’s mail, which we will use for years to come, came with a nice note from the vendor saying how they appreciated my purchase.

Of course there are times when the answer to all three of these questions is “No,” and that’s ok, too. As with all aspects of Planetarian Life, it’s about bringing mindfulness to our actions, considering how our choices impact people and the planet. Every dollar we spend determines the kind of world we want to build.

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