It's holiday shopping season! This year, like every year, I like to recommend giving easy holiday gifts that can possibly make a bigger impact.
I've advocated buying local and making community-based gifts in the past, but I must admit that in the age of the big box, it always felt a little futile. But with the entrance of Occupy Wall Street, this idea finally seems to be taking off big time. Occupy's large media presence has brought the idea of being a conscious consumer to the mainstream, and with that, the crucial building blocks needed to get started.
So in lieu of my regular ol' holiday giving recommendations for nonprofits and gifts of conscience, I want to recommend this great article that was forwarded to me by my friend Bicycle Irish:
Occupy the Holidays: Ten Ways to Make Your Gift-Giving More Meaningful
Gift giving is an honored tradition that gives you the opportunity to share joy with those you care most deeply for. But now more than ever, we need to make sure our purchases are meaningful. Being a conscious consumer is imperative during this Holiday season. This doesn’t mean forsaking your seasonal celebrations, including gift exchanges. But it does mean taking some time to reconsider out habits.
These are really easy but highly effective ways to incorporate conscious consumerism into your holiday -- and perhaps, daily -- life.
Okay, but you're not getting away that easily! I also want to share a great piece I read about the transformative and healing power of being generous with one's spirit.
Knitting Behind Bars
Each week the men eagerly await the women's arrival, then promptly get to work. “It takes you away a little,” Horton says. “You have to watch what you’re doing, otherwise your stitches will become loose or tight or you’ll skip stitches. It almost makes you feel like you don't have to be anything. You’re all sitting there knitting. You can just be yourself.”
[Richy] Horton was released from prison last December and now works in construction. He believes his involvement with KBB helped him get out of jail and onto parole, showing the parole interviewers his small but positive effort to help the outside community. He continues to keep in touch with the women of KBB and is currently knitting a beaded scarf. “They’re not normal people,” Horton says of Zwerling, Rovelstad, and Heirs. “They’re almost like saints.”
"It almost makes you feel like you don't have to be anything." This is a program that works.
To donate to Knitting Behind Bars, contact Lynn Zwerling at firstname.lastname@example.org.