FullSizeRender (8)Somehow, over the last decade or so, we have lost our way when it comes to the holidays. It has become a stressful time that we have to ‘get through’, where we trying an jam all of our shopping into as little time as possible to ‘get it all done’, all while spending as little money as possible on as much crap as you can find on sale at as few stores as possible. Then we complain about the crowds and the parking lots and how rude everyone is and how that clerk had the nerve to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Well, I have to say, we have done this to ourselves. What do we expect to happen when our intentions go from ‘truly putting thought and care into giving while focusing on time with loved ones’ to ‘sacrificing time with family so we can fill our houses with cheap crap from giant corporations who underpay their workers’. That’s the bad news. But the good news is, we can turn this thing around! Here are some tips to keep your money in your communities and support your neighborhood families this holiday season:

1. Buy from local business: Instead of going to Wal-mart or Amazon, try to buy at least half of your xmas presents from local shops. Does your city have a small book store, music store, or hobby shop, or toy store, or boutique, or pet store? I don’t know about you, but Target has enough of my money!

2. Buy from local vendors: examples of local vendors are someone who sells Shaklee products (me), or Avon, or Origami Owl, or Thirty One bags, or Arbonne, or Pampered Chef, etc. These companies are great opportunities for people (mostly women) to create a business for themselves. When we support women and mother’s that live in our neighborhoods, we are supporting children and families.

3. Support small, non-chain restaurants, bars, wine shops: Not saying that places like Olive Garden are somehow not worthy of our time, they are staffed by local people who rely on steady business too. My point here is that, they usually have a steady stream of people coming in regardless. They are already busy. Instead, lets support the new restaurant that just opened. Or that neighborhood wine shop where you might pay a dollar or two more, but they are staffed with people passionate about wine who are getting paid appropriately. Or, buy gift certificates to that cute little restaurant that is always offering farm to table menu options. By doing that, you are supporting a local business owner, the servers who are working their butts off (tip them!), and the farmers that are supplying the food. Win-win-win-win. And, very often, the food is better anyway. #firkin #shanty #adlibgeocafe #nirvanawineandgrillerie #stevenssteakhouse

4. Hire local, independent contractors, artists: Instead of going to JC Penny for family photos, hire a local photographer. You will support a local family and (likely) get way better quality photos. Instead of buying a picture from Pier 1, buy an original from a local artist. #katebogot #lifeographyphoto #youfail.com #basementtshirts

5. Give: Last, but certainly not least, give stuff to people! Buy less stuff for your family, and buy more for those in need. Think about the family that can’t afford a Christmas while you are watching your kids open their 16th present. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy presents and spoiling your kids, but there is a fine line. Make a point to talk to your kids about helping those in need, about donating things that they don’t use anymore. Have them pick out a present for a kid in need. #toysfortots #northernillinoisfoodbank #caringforkidsclothingdrive

If you are looking for a vendor event, there is going to be a great one on Dec. 8th at the Savana House in Wadsworth IL. Here is the info:

2014 Holiday Sip and Shop
Savana House
38905 Route 41
Wadsworth IL
Monday Dec. 8th, 2014
6pm-9pm
Shaklee, Jamberry Nails, Norwex, Jewelry in candles, Beach Body, Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Origami Owl, Thirty One, and Younique Makeup

Not to mention PRIZES and WINE and MARTINIS and BEER and…. 🙂

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