Stimulating the economy

Tonight's the last night of Candletime, and tomorrow's American Thanksgiving. The day after tomorrow officially begins the end-of-year, Christmukkahstivus consumer shopping extravaganza.

It's kind of not my business, but I do want to say two things:

1. A few big retailers have decided to be open on Thanksgiving Day to try to get people to come in and shop, even before Black Friday. I thinkin this is wrong. Thanksgiving is one of the only non-denominational holidays we have in the US, and it's about being with family and friends. If you HAVE to work (transit workers, hospital workers, etc.) that's one thing. And thank you! But for retailers to force hourly, not-well-paid clerks to leave their families and suck in a few dollars from people they're also luring away from their families to shop, well, it's twisted. And shameful. So I'm not shopping for gifts at physical stores on Thanksgiving Day. (I will be taking the subway, though, so thank you MTA workers, and I hope you get double overtime for working tomorrow.)

2. Small businesses. If we really want to make an impact on the economy with the money we spend this holiday, we'll spend it with small businesses. Local businesses and internet businesses. So please consider buying from your local stores on Friday and Saturday. And if you're itching to spend money on Thanksgiving Day, spend it with a nice internet retailer who is talking with family while you press "Buy" and will fulfill your order on Friday. Like, say, everyone over at Etsy.com.

Who are you going to spend money with online or locally? Do you sell on Etsy or another website? Share your ideas and promote your own store in the comments. Tell us what you wish someone would give you, and what you're going to give other people, whether it's handmade or a mass-produced product from a big retailer.

(I wish someone would give me this crocheted brass necklace, or the Mint hard surface floor cleaner robot. And I'm not posting what I'm giving people because they all read this. But I'm knitting a bunch of stuff with yarn from this seller.)

41 thoughts on “Stimulating the economy”

  1. Thanks for your post. Moxie. I am hoping to make gifts for my family and friends this year. I do not sell on Etsy, but I appreciate your offer for readers to promote their stores etc. You go girl.

  2. 40% off at http://auntiecards.etsy.com – use coupon code THANKSWKEND.Auntie Cards are photography based, kid oriented cards because getting real mail is FUN!
    Coupon is good (American) Friday – Monday. And new items will be added on Friday morning.
    I hope some of you come by, I love this idea but I have struggled to get it off the ground.
    Great shopping and chillin’ and lovin this weekend!

  3. I avoid all shopping at Thanksgiving time. Bah humbug, I know.Instead, we’re going to be eating, and having friends over, and enjoying the snow (perhaps on skis), and watching two of our favorite movies: “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles” and “Home for the Holidays.”
    No in-laws of any kind will be present. Bliss. Happy Turkey Lurkey to all Americanos!!

  4. ITA with @Moxie’s sentiment about opening on Thanksgiving. That being said, I do work in retail (albeit a VERY non-traditional retail setting) and I’d imagine that in this economy that retail (chains and independents alike) are hard hit. Opening on a holiday (esp. one so close to Xmas) probably does bring in big business. And, as usual (at least in the case of big companies), it sucks for the little guy.As for where I’m spending money on my end:
    1. I’m making a concerted effort this year to buy handmade, mostly from etsy and also from a few small independents. I wanted to do the same last year but did not get my act together in time to include shipping time. I even sent my Mom my etsy finds for our wishlists and I know she’s ordered some stuff already. It’s great because it satisfies her need to do a craft show kind of thing, but much more easily as she can zoom in on photos for her macularly degenerated eyes. (yeah, I don’t think macularly is a word, but YKWIM).
    2. I don’t sell on Etsy, but hope to be in a few years when I actually have enough free time on the side. Etsy has really revolutionized business for people who create and sell handmade. It’s exciting to see it’s success.
    3. We’re also making a concerted effort to give gifts handmade by me and DH. DH is knitting thrummed mittens for family (see here for a visual: http://tinyurl.com/2gxbkb7 ). I’ll be making re-usable fabric totes customized with the recipients initials. If I get my act in gear, I’ll finish the blurb books of DS’ first 2 years of life and order copies for the grandparents. And the pièce de resistance is a homemade play kitchen for DS.
    4. For me I have some handmade
    http://tinyurl.com/2c2428r
    http://tinyurl.com/2ezlfo5
    and the usual books on my list as well as an iPod shuffle for working out. What I’d really love is a house cleaner every two weeks :).

  5. I definitely agree with buying from local and/or independent resources if you can. What a great idea to give everyone a chance to say what they have for sale; I’ll be sure to come back and browse the websites looking for good ideas.As for the stores not opening on Thanksgiving, not so sure I agree with that, however. When I was young and working in a convenience store, I always appreciated the opportunity to make double or overtime on holidays. I imagine that if we were in financial trouble now, I might appreciate that opportunity again. Also, stores that make money (on whatever day) are stores that can continue to employ people. So, there’s a balance to strike there.

  6. You make very good points. I’ve always thought it was awful that many grocery stores were open on Thanksgiving just to catch those few people who forgot something for their meal. My thinking is, people should just live without that one thing.I don’t do a lot of gift-giving, but I do plan to buy jewelry from a former co-worker who makes her own stuff for a couple of gifts. And maybe some internet shopping, but not thru amazon.

  7. One thing I will miss this Thanksgiving is getting together with pals at the diner, usually Waffle House, after the big meal with my parents. It’d be a bunch of teenagers and solo men staring into their blue plate specials and ashtrays. Kinda makes me sad to remember those folks eating alone on Thanksgiving.Yay for inlawless Thanksgiving Hush! Although I know my husband is a bit sad.
    This year, we decided to get only one present for both of us and presents for our son who turns one year old December 23. I love my memories of this time of year- anticipating his birth, the hospital all quiet, then coming home with our baby on Christmas Eve.

  8. Thanks Moxie for this, and this space!Not my etsy store, but I want to plug nightlightinternational.com/store. This is a great organization my church supports that works with women and children rescued from sex trafficked situations (in LA, Atlanta, and Bangkok).
    They sell AMAZING jewelry made by women leaving the sex industry in Thailand… since many women there are trafficked due to lack of economic choices, making this jewelry gives them a way to support their families with dignity.

  9. I love your shout out to local retailers. I try to patronize local restaurants all year as well. Hoping for an ebook reader and hoping people will want to give personalized astrology charts from my mom’s little site: http://www.astrotalker.com. Thanks for Candletime, Moxie!

  10. @ Moxie – Tell us what you wish someone would give youNothing. My weariness for the buying/receiving of gifts has been growing for several years. It also follows that I am not too interested in shopping on national holidays.
    I find a lot of “stuff” to be a pain. I remember getting gifts when I had a newborn, and while I was grateful, I would often think: “Damn. Now I have to throw this box out.” I think the best gifts are unexpected, make the recipient’s life easier, and is often the gift of TIME. Making someone a meal to save them some energy, running an errand, etc. These are the things that make people’s day. At this point, my rhyme is: Enough with the stuff.

  11. @BiteSizeTherapy: I could not agree more! My parents are big into gift giving and very judgmental about it (they won’t hesitate to tell you if they don’t like your gift but they expect you to fall all over yourself with gratitude for whatever tschotsckes they toss in a box). Time with the people you love, or specific activities (tickets to movies, symphony, etc.) are so much better than stuff!That being said, I love giving my husband presents because he never asks for anything and rarely, if ever, splurges on himself. So he’s getting an iPad for his Dec. 5th birthday and a Nespresso machine for Christmas (he works from home and loves cappuccino, so it will get used).
    For my son we’re getting one or two nice presents and letting the avalanche of gifts from the grandparents take care of the rest.
    For myself? I’m 8 months pregnant (34 weeks) with baby number 2 and all I want for Christmas is to go into labor at 37 weeks instead of 41. I’m ready to be done!

  12. Thanks Moxie for this post, and your shout-out to Etsy :)I sell handmade stamped metal luggage tags, keychains, jewelry and pet ID tags on my site, so it’s a good place to look if you want to buy handmade for a dude in your life, especially a geeky one, as I have periodic-table-related stuff in my shop..
    I love that Etsy has given me an easy way to get up and running selling my jewelry, without the huge overhead of dealing with my own website/cart/etc. And like you said, I can pack orders while hanging out with babyT 🙂
    http://anandi.etsy.com
    Enter code ‘MOXIE’ at checkout to get 10% off 🙂
    Cheers!

  13. Also, I noticed @the milliner was thinking about starting up an Etsy shop.If anyone would like to chat about what it takes to get up and running, tips and tricks, etc, send me a message via my Etsy shop and I can help.
    I’ve been selling on Etsy for about 3 years now, and it’s helping to support my craft supply addiction, and now BabyT’s college fund 🙂

  14. Waaaay back in the early 90s I worked at a Tower Video in Los Angeles. Tower was open 365 days/year, and employees had to work 2 out of the 3 winter ‘bank holidays’ (for which we made time-and-a-half). I typically chose to have Christmas off, so I worked a few Thanksgiving evening shifts over the years. I was always amazed at how busy the store got after 5:00 p.m., as if the last thing people wanted to do after eating was to _talk_ to their families.My go-to local (Denver metro area) vendor for gifts is the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. We’re too broke to buy gifts for friends and family–fortunately they all know and understand–but I’ll hit the Teahouse for the office Secret Santa exchange. Otherwise, it’s homemade cookies and any quilt-related items I can manage to complete.

  15. I’ve challenged myself to a 100% buy local themed Christmas this year. I am avoiding the typical national retail chain store Black Friday sales (I can use the extra sleep and reduced stress anyway). I plan to attend the CraftxNW (http://www.everydayolympia.com/2010/11/22/kick-of-the-holidays-in-downtown/) in Olympia, WA on Sunday as well as support the other locally owned downtown businesses this holiday season.I’ve also heard about AmEx’s Small Business Saturday (http://smallbusinesssaturday.com) from Dooce.com. I don’t have an AmEx card but it appears to be a way for cardmembers and local businesses to benefit.

  16. @ARC- I’ve seen your geek stuff and love it! I have dropped a few hints my husband’s way about your stuff and some other chemistry themed jewelry I’ve seen, but he’s a bit dense so unless I plain out send him a link, chances are he missed it. I promise to try again. For BabyT, you know.I’m not crafty at all, so I don’t have an etsy shop.
    I used to work at a movie theater. We also had to work at least one of the big holidays this time of year. I hated it- people came in after they’d already fought with each other and were so mean to us. But then, my family had a Christmas Eve movie tradition, so I guess I’ve contributed to this, too. And I’ve been known to send someone on an emergency grocery store run on Thanksgiving morning… there was that time I couldn’t find my meat thermometer….
    And now I should get back to my frantic preparations for Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday by far.

  17. Oh, and I can’t stand crowded, stressful shopping. So no Black Friday for me, I don’t care how good the sales are. I’d rather buy less than torture myself like that.

  18. At the risk of sounding totally grinchy, I do not not not miss this about living in the US. Chanukah is a fun holiday, with time off from school and activities and meeting friends and parties, but there is just not the pressure to have it be the Jewish gift-filled equivalent to Christmas. (My kids are each getting a board game from us. That’s it.)My family in the US is making a large collective gift to a charity. Trying to figure out which.
    As far as taking time and really stopping for enjoyment/reflection, the US doesn’t seem to be able to do it. (Except where there are blue laws.)
    I don’t know if it’s because Israel is a younger, more fragile country, but Memorial Day and Independence Day (on consecutive days) really MEAN something. NOTHING is open the evening of Memorial Day. Hospitals, I guess, and public transportation to get people to memorial ceremonies. That’s pretty much it. Independence Day almost everything’s closed; people are celebrating with their families. On Yom Kippur, which is obviously important as a religious holiday, everything else is closed as well–you won’t find a museum, airport, or store that is operational. People ride bikes on major highways because they’re empty of traffic.
    Once upon a time (but not that long ago!) Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day were inviolable closings in the US. Sad that it’s no longer the way.
    Hope everyone has a relaxing day with loved ones!

  19. @ARC, Thanks for the offer. I’m definitely filing your contact info away for future reference. I used to have a retail store where I sold my hats, amongst other things, and wholesaled them to stores mostly in NA, so I have a pretty good idea of what to expect. BUT, there’s nothing like direct experience and I’m sure you’d have more than a few tips to offer :). Perhaps this will give me the push to get moving (very slowly) on developing my concept. And I LOVE the periodic table stuff. I’m not really a science geek, but there’s something you just can’t resist about the periodic table.@Cloud, really, are we the same person? Twins separated at birth? I find I’m often saying ‘Hey! Me too!’ to so many of your posts. I used to work at a movie theatre too. I don’t think I ever worked Christmas eve or day (somehow managed to get out of all of the shifts). Christmas day we saw what seemed to be a lot of lonely patrons. Especially older ones. So sad. Of course there were also people who didn’t celebrate Xmas, and probably some who do but wanted to get away from their families. We had a guy we nicknamed Mr. Popcorn that used to come into the theatre every Saturday afternoon and holiday afternoons just to buy a small fresh popcorn. Fascinating to see a small regular glimpse of the lives of others.
    I’m with you on crowded, stressful shopping. Hate it. I’d totally rather pay more / buy less in a relaxed environment.

  20. @Cloud – I’m blushing! Thanks for the compliments. I figure that by the time BabyT goes to college in 17 years, it’s going to cost about a million dollars. It’s also a good excuse for me to rationalize the time I spend crafting :)My family had a Christmas Day, and sometimes Thanksgiving Day movie tradition too! We still joke about some of the AWFUL movies we saw. Like “Nell” and “Hoffa”. Ugh.

  21. I completely agree with this post. I’ve often been upset over grocery stores being open 24 hours. Is there really truly a need for this? Didn’t they find a way to stock stores when they had a closing time, and didn’t people somehow live through the night without whatever it is that they buy at 3 a.m.? I can’t fathom having to work the middle of the night in retail; must we really sell and be sold to, 24/7?

  22. I run a blog at http://www.canadianhandmade.ca with my sister that features a different Canadian crafter or artist every weekday – such amazing talent in the handmade community. I decided this year to shop as much handmade as possible (exception: books) and so far I’ve managed to find gifts for everyone via Etsy, Cargoh.com (a new online indie marketplace) and at local craft shows. I have had so much fun browsing online and passing the iPad back and forth with my husband discussing different gifts for the kids and loved ones in our lives. WAY less stressful than mall shopping!!

  23. Moxie: I TOTALLY agree with you about stores opening on the holiday. When I moved to France 8 years ago I loved that all large businesses and many small ones were closed on Sundays and Holidays. Unfortunately the big-box stores have pushed through changes in laws that penalized them for opening on these days and more and more stores are open on Sunday and some of the lesser holidays (still closed Christmas and Easter). While it’s convenient to be able to get milk or other necessities I think the societal lifestyle costs outweigh these benefits.As for holiday shopping I just make my list and groan at how difficult it is to shop for gifts. I really resent it, and yet I like to be generous. Online all the way, baby.

  24. A few years ago my family decided not to get each other gifts, just for the kiddos, and limited at that. I have a big family (4 sisters) so this has been great. I truly, truly do not want any more STUFF! My momma and my sister are both self employed artists, and these last couple of years have been challenging for them. Here is link to my sisters amazing faux fur animal hats, they make me smile, and she sews every single one.http://www.chiahats.com/

  25. Thank you Moxie! As someone who worked in retail for about 15 years, I can say that having to work on days like Thanksgiving really was not fun. Glad to be a business owner now with a shop on Etsy. I am happy to be able to spend today and tomorrow with my family. I am having a sale at my shop on Cyber Monday; 20% off everything in the shop with coupon code CYMON20 on November 29th.I am also hand making gifts for everyone this year and trying to buy most of my supplies from small businesses.
    Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/NancyKayCreations

  26. I really enjoy Thanksgiving. Not to be too PC though I think there are legitimate reasons for people not wanting to celebrate (Native Americans etc.). As someone who has had to struggle to find a pharmacy to fill a prescription on a holiday I’m all for businesses being open.Also, I don’t really see the need to shut everything down to impose everyone to celebrate on a certain day. We’re celebrating tomorrow because of scheduling needs with family travel and I think we can still have a special day even if it’s not technically Thanksgiving.
    But I understand the sentiment of wishing everyone a chance to celebrate and take it easy! 😉
    Yes to local and small business shopping. I’ve already done about a third of my holiday shopping. Most from Etsy!

  27. I agree. Shouldn’t make already under-appreciated employees work Thanksgiving, too!Also, I have an Etsy store. 🙂
    http://samann1121.etsy.com
    I sell lots of fun, inexpensive gifty-type items made out of vintage and recycled materials.
    Use the code MOXIE10 and get 10% off your order!

  28. In honor of the end of candletime:Please visit my cyber Monday sale at
    http://www.partylite.biz/karie
    Yes, it’s a big corporate company, but are we independent consultants and the income is a blessing. (If you love any of the direct sales/party plan products, be sure to go directly to your consultant’s website, not corporate, so she gets the commission) Happy Shopping!

  29. As a sad little postscript…going home from Thanksgiving dinner, we got stuck in a traffic jam and had to do a U-turn after 20 minutes in a wall of traffic. We thought there was an accident. Turns out it was the 10pm opening of Toys R Us.

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