Chanukah/Christmas shopping the right way?

 Yesterday was, apparently, UK No Shopping day. What a strange concept. Every Saturday is no shopping day for me, and it's one of the things I think is totally brilliantly counter cultural and rebellious and important about Shabbat!
But why do people need to shop all other 364 days of the year (you can even shop on Christmas day now if you need to)? Shopping, as I have probably said before, has become something we do for leisure, rather than out of need, even if we can't afford to. We all feel we have the right to 'stuff' and there is an enjoyment just in acquiring.
So now seems like an appropriate moment to think about how we enter the festive shopping season with a bit of sense and more importantly ethics. Of course it is lovely to give and receive gifts, but not at the expense of others living conditions and not if it is going to rot at the back of a cupboard. So, some tips on how my shopping has changed since my total shopping ban earlier this year.

The first place for Chanukah shopping for our synagogue members might be today at our WLS annual Fair. Raising money for charity, we have a range of second hand as well as new goods, and external stalls selling hand made loveliness. Everything bought raises money for charity, and it starts at 11.30 this morning!
More permanent solutions are wonderful websites like Folksy and Etsy selling individuals hand made home made crafts. I sell my own hand made beaded kippot on Folksy raising money for our Asylum Seekers drop in Centre. I've found some truly unique hand made gifts here in the past and never been disappointed (though in America there is a regretsy site for purchases from Etsy that were just too odd!)

Other great gift sites include Traidcraft where you can buy a whole range of fairtrade gifts, clothes and household goods. And for that party season outfit, you can still be good to the world, on Traidcraft, or Nomads or People Tree. And to the man who proudly told me he brought fairtrade pants after reading a blog (albeit by accident) I hope they continue to feel great! Pants to Poverty!

And perhaps when you're done buying what you need for your holiday gifts, you might manage a week without shopping, never mind a day, or maybe try a day each week, like shabbat!


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