For the last several years, I've put a lot of thought and time and effort into making sure I could feel ethically good about all of the Christmas presents I give. I've made sure they were used, handmade, or, if it was at all possible, purchased from independent retailers. And I've gotten very good at it. Last year, I don't think I gave a single "commercial" gift.
This year, though, I've completely failed in this task. Living in the suburbs, where I couldn't find an indie retailer if you paid me to, is a big part of it. Love or hate Austin, it was easy to shop indie there. There's also the fact that shopping in a brick and mortar store at all here, is horrible--everything is so crowded--so I've done nearly all of my shopping online this year.
So how bad have I been? Well, take books. I always gift books. I have a book loving family. This year, rather than spending hours browsing for them in a local bookstore, I ordered them from Barnes & Noble and Borders. My parents are getting clothes from Land's End. I've even ordered a few things, God help me, from Amazon.
I have made a few Etsy purchases, though, which makes me feel marginally better. I ordered some magnetic lockets from Polarity for my nieces (I've had my eye on those forever--I'm so happy to finally be giving them to someone). For my cousin's baby, I found an awesome wooden train made by a work-at-home woodworking mama at Woman Woodworker's Natural Wood Toys.
I still have about a third of my list left, and I'm hoping to buy a few more sustainable, moral gifts. I'm thinking Mark's mom might like some colorful printed kitchen towels from Pata Pri.
I shouldn't lay 100% of the blame on my new home. Had I not chosen to be lazy, I could have made the same commitment to indie and handmade gifts this year that I have in years past. This year, though, it just wasn't a priority. That' something I am going to need to try to make up for in 2010.