the TAO of CHANGE

a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

There’s lots of talk about Holiday shopping (or not) and gift-giving (or not) this year. Even the people who are giving are talking about not giving so much. There’s many worthy and creative angles to come from on this subject and it’s all out there. First, it was about giving organic, then Fair Trade was all the rage. This year, it’s all about going beyond the mall and giving handmade gifts, (10, 463 people took the Buy Handmade Pledge so far). More families are choosing to give one gift to each person by drawing names or giving through groups like Heifer International.

There’s exceptions to the new rules, of course. Kids have visions of sugarplums (or skateboards) dancing in their heads this time of year, and there’s plenty of room to indulge those dreams (and often in eco-fashion if you do your research). For the grown-ups, there are still special things that come packed with meaning, memories and beauty (this is where the organic/Fair Trade/handmade part comes in.)

In terms of meaningful gifts, there’s one standby gift that I rarely hesitate to give and always love to get. Books. I can’t get enough of them and I know many people just like me. I buy and trade at used bookstores all year-round, but for newer reads that I can’t readily find, I shop Independent. Enter Booksense. It’s the easy way to give favorite picks to people near and far and support Independent booksellers at the same time. Booksense markets Independent booksellers throughout the country by providing an online store locater by zip code and by selling gift cards to any of those stores. Booksense.com also connects Independent online sellers on their site.

It appears that a general consensus has taken hold: Less is more. Keep it healthy for the planet and people, DIY says more, consumables count and, overall, it’s not about the stuff. Interestingly, this new attitude has done nothing to dampen the holiday spirit. In fact, those I’ve spoken with seem to be basking in a kind of joyful relief. With shopping kept to a minimum, the pressure is off and the opportunity to rekindle the spirit of the season is looking every bit as good as a full Christmas stocking.

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THE TAO OF CHANGE [the way of a better world]

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