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5 tips on how to avoid 'the mall' this Christmas

   .. surviving the ‘Christmas Consumerism Blues'

                       

            Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year...       

Except sometimes- Not so much.                 

             Whether its breaking down in tears during a traffic jam en-route to the mall, or cleaning up the remains yet another wasteful holiday, the yule tide season tends to send stress levels through the roof.

So If you have also spent one too many Christmas mornings feeling disillusioned and empty as you wade through piles of wrapping and the discarded plastic of presents already forgotten about, Cheers to you. I have been there too. And guess what? That means you are a completely normal person. So if you are still reading thus far, Congratulations! You are not a brainwashed Christmas zombie

You care,    

Yay!

Now this is something to celebrate  

                             

And in celebration for all of those who are trying so hard to keep it real, Hope + Twine has compiled a little list.. and not the kind of naughty and nice list Santa makes. Nope, we torment ourselves over our inadequacies enough on our own this time of year. And the emphasis on false over truth and quantity over quality really, really bums me out.

 So if the festive cheerleader inside you seems to have been replaced by a snarling troll. And the twelve days of Christmas have just become a mad race to the end, I feel ya. But do we have to give up on the season all together?

This time of year shouldn't have to be something to 'just get through'. Didn't it used to be fun? I swear it did. So lets not toss the proverbial baby Jesus out with the bathwater right?. I believe you can celebrate Christmas and not have panic attacks at the thought of it. You can stick to your beliefs and not be a total spazz. And you can take what you want, what works for you, and leave the rest- without being a Scrooge.

Here are a few tips on how to have your Paleo-friendly, vegan, non GMO Christmas cake and eat it too;

5 – Investigate the tourist trail in your region, go to craft fairs and flea markets..

Explore your own unique stomping grounds,  be it a small locally owned art gallery, a mom 'n' pop organic vineyard or farm, or simply a creative neighbour.                           Go to a craft fair, support a young avant-garde art student or a great grandmother who knits like a fiend. No wait, support both.

How about that lavender farm, selling tea and homemade candles, that only tourists go to? Go there! Then, on the way home, hit any other specialty shop you can think of. You'll get to have a cool little afternoon wandering around your own neck of the woods -Plus, you get real and meaningful interaction with members of your own community and you get to support a local business.

Win Win ! (actually I think there are three wins there, but who’s counting?)

For example, found in my own backyard of Vancouver, BC - The lovely Jeanette Schwartz at           

http://www.alocalartisan.com

She sells gorgeous home made Craft Salts out of her online shop- combined with a local wine- and a set of handmade napkins @ www.hopeandtwine.com/products/rustic-block-print-napkin-set

-it would be a really cool gift for the foodie in your family, actually ..

     +   

 

4 Ditch the wrapping paper

So, obviously way more Earth friendly than the shiny crap sold at Wall Mart and made in China. But also- Its way more fun!!!  I keep ALL clean brown paper that comes my way through out the year; and Christmas is a great time to put it to use. Pus having a clean canvas to start with means you can get inventive with other embellishments, like a sprig of holly, or home made stamps. And since bows and film and ribbon are all off limits too, you really do have to think outside of 'the box' -and use what you have within your reach. Its amazing what you don't need to buy.      

The Note Passer is one of my favorite sustainable blogs, there are more than a few holiday gems on the site, as well as ideas on making your own fabric Christmas wrapping- check it out here :

http://thenotepasser.com/blog/2013/12/20/ethical-gift-guide-wrapping?rq=christmas

 

3- Shop for 'new' things online

 

Being surrounded by all that Christmas rush and the weight of all of that endless, empty stuff can get you down- and interfere with the Christmas spirit. So if you must get that new gadget for your techie brother-in-law, buy it online. It will totally save your sanity.  Just picture it now- no parking. No lines. No feuds over the last toy in an outrageously fluorecent aisle in Plastic Land.                                                                                       And all that extra time you have on your hands? Cuddle up with your favorite book  and some of that lavender tea ( you picked up a little for yourself right?) and watch the snow fall… Definitely worth the shipping and handling.

               

 

 

 

2- I. O.U ‘S

Remember when you were little and you gave your parents coupon books? I, – ---(your name scrawled in red crayon here) -- promises to do the dishes once this week.       Pretty lame right? well,                                                                                                     Flip the script! Now that you’re an adult it doesn’t mean you have to toss out this little DIY gem, it just means they get way better. Promise, in writing, to take your nieces bowling, or to a movie. Buy your parents tickets to the symphony, or a rock concert (depending on the type of parents you have ;)  & include reservations somewhere fantastic. Pick a day, after all the rush is over, that will work for everyone. Quality time with your loved ones and something awesome to look forward to in the epically depressing month of January? Sold.

 

1- Online Subscriptions

Just in case you haven't been paying attention, the times they have-a-changed, and these aren't the lame memberships of yore ( Chevy Chase and the Jelly of the month club anyone?) 

Clubs are making a comeback. Oh yeah. Anyone here interested in wine? Thought so.  Way back when, I worked in a winery in Australia. And packing up the wine club every week was one of my favorite jobs. I remember being so jealous of, ahem, I mean so happy for, these people in small towns all over the country, getting beautiful, single vineyard wines delivered to their door.

 

     

 

This little gem just popped up on my radar and I am dying to try it  (hint hint). Pour This 
http://www.pour-this.com/  looks like a super rad twist on the old wine club scene. And one of my favourite local wineries, for any Okanagan dwellers reading this, is the newly launched Little Engine Wines in Penticton B.C- and it has a 'lil wine club too https://www.littleenginewines.com

 

Do you know a Celiac, or a hopeless cook?  Online recipe clubs are the best ! Here is one of my all time faves

http://www.easyhealthyeats.com

                  A subscription to this site is an amazing gift for anyone on your list who loves healthy food but lacks skills in the kitchen. Erica Lawrence is a beautiful soul, who truly wants to help people eat better. She always includes vegetarian options, and all of the recipes are naturally gluten free - oh and a  3 month subscription can be had for as low as $9 a month. 


                                            

        ....   match it with a set of ocean colored, sustainably made place-mats

                                                                                 
 
          www.hopeandtwine.com/products/remind-me-of-the-ocean-placemats 

                              

                            And you are pretty much the winner of Christmas.


 

1 . Give the gift of Fair wages this year & Buy Fair trade.

Lastly, and this is so important, If you don’t have time to craft fair and lavender farm your way through town all December ( and I get it- your busy!)- By all means buy sparkly new presents for all. But please, pay attention to labels. Look up the brands. Read the tags. Including all the small print. In fact, after reading all those things, whip out your phone and double check. The extra few moments might save somebody's life. 

And remember, just because you hear a brand name often doesn’t mean you are well acquainted with its practices. Some of the biggest players in retail are also some of the most unscrupulous when it comes time to handing out employee bonuses of any kind, let alone providing even basic health and safety needs.

Here are a few links to help you navigate the muddy waters of brand transparency

 https://www.rankabrand.org/sustainable-luxury-brands/DKNY

http://www.goodguide.com/

 

And of course, Hope+Twine is on the 'Nice' list every day of the year. We are always working hard on stocking our store with unique and authentically luxurious, ethically made pieces. Follow us on Instagram @hopeandtwine for inside scoops on the artisans and first-hand access to sales and coupon codes. Oh, and do watch out for our fantastic, hand crafted wool blankets to hit the shelves this month. A truly perfect Christmas gift, these luxurious all natural pieces were handmade made by a beautiful, multi generational family of artisans in Momostenangeo, Guatemala.

  May you be happy, may you be healthy and may you be filled with gratitude this year,

 

                                                          Hope + Twine 

 

 

 

 

 

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