Buying gifts? Rethink the outcome

By Jett Fesler, URA board member

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and with it comes a lot of stuff. Stuff for your parents, friends, children, coworkers, neighbors, and beyond. But where does all that stuff come from? How is it made? Where does it go when we are done with it? These are important questions to consider when purchasing anything: food, clothes, electronics, toys, cars, etc. Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these questions whenever I make a purchase.

With Christmas right around the corner, shopping lists for loved ones can get long and daunting. Shopping online and getting products with free shipping can definitely take pressure off you for getting gifts to the right people on time, and sometimes the perfect gift is only available online. I get it, especially this time of year. However, whenever I can, I get back into that “shop local” mindset when thinking about gifts, and I encourage you to do the same. As often as possible, I’ve been trying to buy things locally—not only does it help reduce transportation pollution, but it also helps support our local economy. Just consider: when buying a new item, is there a local store near you that may have that same item?

The infographic from justlittlechanges.com motivated me to make another change during this holiday season. It perfectly explains a sustainable line of thinking when considering gifts for loved ones, so I’ve been focusing my attention toward giving memories to my family and friends. Things like eating at a local restaurant with my parents, taking my niece and nephews to an indoor pool, and seeing a movie with my in-laws make memories with the people I care about without cluttering up their homes with stuff.

This is a habit I am trying to cultivate on an ongoing basis, not just through the holiday season. Little changes and new habits like this should be cultivated over a long period of time. I encourage you to think a little bit harder about where things come from while you are making all your holiday purchases, and make little changes that affect real change.

… Whenever I can, I get back into that “shop local” mindset when thinking about gifts, and I encourage you to do the same. As often as possible, I’ve been trying to buy things locally—not only does it help reduce transportation pollution, but it also helps support our local economy.