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Deck the Halls: Tackling the Holiday Shop-a-Thon

IN THE December 14 ISSUE

FROM THE 2019 Articles,
andCommunity,
andSarah Peterson-Camacho
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by Sarah A. Peterson-Camacho

As the days shorten and the air turns cold and crisp, thoughts turn to the holidays and all of the chaos that they conjure. ‘Tis the season of mad dashes on Black Friday, packed parking lots, a veritable flood of Christmas parties and gift exchanges, and the scramble of last-minute everything.

Holiday advertising bombards the frazzled consumer from every possible direction—TV, the Internet, social media, print media, billboards, and even public transportation. It’s enough to yearn for total hibernation—at least until the New Year.

Christmas gifts I have purchased the last few weeks

So how does one even begin to tackle the season of giving?

Well, having a budget to work with certainly cuts down on the overwhelm, giving you a parameter within which to work. This can help inform your purchasing decisions, and act as a guiding force as you embark on your gift-buying journey.
Looking outside the (big) box, in terms of where to shop, can be a starting point—refreshing, instead of rehashing, the same old trudge down the halls of holiday commercialism, where it can all just seem like one big desperate grab for your hard-earned cash.

Christmas wish lists from your loved ones can anchor your search, acting as navigational tools, but even without the aid of these, there are plenty of offbeat options at your disposal.

Why not go the handmade route, hitting up the local holiday craft fairs for a plethora of handcrafted items like crochet or knitted goods, home-baked treats, artisan-crafted jewelry, bath and body products, and one-of-a-kind toys? Not only will you be supporting local crafters and makers, but much of the proceeds are often donated to a worthy cause.

Eco-conscious gift-givers need look no further than the fair trade community for handmade wares from around the globe, enhancing support for artisans in developing countries, as well as fostering honest and responsible global trade. Stores like Tagua Fair Trade, in Fresno’s Fig Garden Village and Old Town Clovis, and websites such as www.tenthousandvillages.com, offer myriad Fair Trade-certified treasures, from home décor and accessories to kitchenwares and jewelry, clothing, toys, and original art.

Online marketplaces are also alive with infinite options, wellsprings of inspiration and creativity waiting to be explored. Sites like Etsy and Ebay offer an endless variety of vintage and handcrafted goods for a wide range of budgets, but be sure to peruse the buyers’ reviews on both sites for a handle on others’ experiences with any given online shop.

And last but certainly not least, local vintage shops and thrift stores house a vast array of new and gently used items ready to connect with their next owners. YoshiNow! in downtown Fresno and Neighborhood Thrift in the Tower District are just a couple of the many local vintage and thrifting markets just waiting to be discovered.

Whatever shopping path you decide to meander down, wish lists in hand (or not), remember to have fun, and the journey will never feel like a chore!

Sarah A. Peterson-Camachois a library assistant with Fresno County Library, with a Bachelor’s in English and a Bachelor’s in Journalism from California State University, Fresno. In her free time, she makes soap and jewelry that she sells at Fresno-area craft fairs. She has written for The Clovis Roundup and the Central California Paranormal Investigators (CCPI) Newsletter.

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