I am Pro Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It is a holiday meant to be celebrated with family and friends, though sometimes it isn't possible to be with them. Some of us are even lucky enough to eat or serve a marvelous meal. Either way, as a national holiday, I believe it should be spent reflecting, giving back and paying forward. 

Yes, I am that much of a pattern nerd that I made my own Thanksgiving pattern :)

Yes, I am that much of a pattern nerd that I made my own Thanksgiving pattern :)

Last year I wrote a piece on Black Friday, the notorious day after Thanksgiving where all of America goes bananas over deals. My attitude toward this crazy post holiday fiasco hasn't changed. Im happy to see that a few large companies like Costco and Kmart are giving their employees Thursday off and will open their doors Friday morning. Other stores like Toys R Us, J.C. Penny, Macy's, Target, Best Buy and Walmart plan on opening as early as 5pm Thursday night! It makes me so upset that these large companies have stepped way over the appropriate line and are having employees miss Thanksgiving all together! 

Madeline Kahn's reaction is exactly how I feel about large companies on Black Friday!

Now, onto the subject of all these "magical" deals America is so obsessed with. My question is is it even worth it? Don't get me wrong, I love getting a good deal as much as the next person, but if the lines for these stores open before Thanksgiving even starts, what's the point? If saving a few bucks on holiday gifts is so important, there are other ways to get a deal (and probably a better gift).

Line outside of Best Buy in 2011.

Line outside of Best Buy in 2011.

In recent years, a few alternatives to Black Friday have evolved, such as Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, Fair and Giving Tuesday. I will be writing about some of these in the next few days. For now, know that standing in line in the cold, just to get a deal and maybe get trampled on in the process isn't worth it. Please opt to stay indoors with family, friends on Thanksgiving day. 


The Purchasing Power - Post Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a wonderful and meaningful Thanksgiving. I hope it was not only tasty and filling but also a time to share with friends and family while reflecting on the things you are thankful for this year and in life. 

Sadly, this time of year is also a crazy push for mass consumerism. What with some major stores starting Black Friday on Thursday night, the eve of Thanksgiving, the hype of rushing to stores to grab a deal has gone bananas! I am not excluded from this equation. I admit, I purchased winter boots and a printer, but sadly it was only because I had the day off. The whole concept of mass purchasing on this post-Thanksgiving weekend is disturbing. Yet every year we dive into Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals so we can all save a few bucks.

That all said and done, I do believe that there is much good and positive outcome to this crazy American ritual. We have dubbed the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday and a combination of Fair Tuesday and Giving Tuesday for the Tuesday after. These 2 special days allow us to make a direct difference in people's lives locally and globally. Small businesses provide jobs, taxes, connect and give back money to local communities, while ethical or fair trade businesses provide the same things to communities abroad.

Photos from  Soom Foods ,  Mata Traders  &  Sundara .

Giving Tuesday gives people the opportunity to make a contribution to non-profits. Fair Tuesday provides consumers the opportunity to make a purchase that will most likely help a small business, but more importantly make a difference to someone and/or a community on abroad. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you already know that I design for a wonderful fair trade company called Mata Traders. They produce clothing and jewelry through women cooperatives in India and Nepal. These cooperatives provide fair wages, health clinics, schooling for their children and much more. The jewelry and garments that they make are beautiful and with every purchase you can have piece of mind that it was made fairly and ethically. You can find a list of  fair trade companies here

Another company (a new one!) worth checking out is Sundara. Sundara is a soap company with a social mission to not only be a vegan & eco friendly product, but to promote hand washing to children and communities in Thailand, India & Ghana. These soaps not only look beautiful but provide a service that helps save lives and promote wellness all over the world. Plus, the ingredients they use look amazing!  

A great way to find a company that gives back is at One Percent for the Planet. This site provides a list of companies that give 1% of their profit to loads of non-profits that give back to our planet. I heard about this site from my friends over at Soom Foods. This trio of sisters, produce and sell delicious Tehina with a social message (check out their amazing recipes! I never knew you can do so much with Tehina).

These companies and these 2 special days after Thanksgiving make if possible to use our purchasing powers to create change on a local and global scale. Please consider finding a local and ethical business that produces and sells what you need and make a difference in communities near and far this holiday season (and beyond!)