The Spirit Of Giving


I was thinking about “Pretty Woman” the other day and my favorite shopping scene, where she walks in triumph with loads of shopping bags out of the boutiques in Beverly Hills, telling the shopkeepers who earlier shunned her that they made a very expensive mistake. In the current mode of how we buy things, would Julia Roberts on a porch surrounded by Amazon boxes have the same satisfying effect?

As we enter the holiday shopping season, otherwise known as “buying things people don’t need with money you don’t have,” maybe we should pause for a moment and think about gifts which are actually meaningful. We are living in a Marie Kondo world where people are more obsessed with getting rid of things than acquiring them, unless, of course, it is more books about decluttering.

Yet there is the little kid in all of us who is still excited to see a present wrapped under the tree (unless you come from a long line of gift givers who feel Post-it notes are perfectly adequate wrapping.) And I have no qualms with self-care to ensure you have at least one gift you want with a note from Santa, “You have been the exact perfect balance of naughty and nice, except for being a bit rude to that sales girl, because she didn’t personally invent impossible-to-wear skinny jeans, or that online date you rejected because you thought him wanting to meet in Ireland was a blow off when really IRL just means ‘in real life,’ and your attention to recycling is questionable. Ho ho ho, (and that is not a judgment on your romantic life). Merry Christmas, love Santa.”

What if we thought of gift giving instead as an exchange of energy? What would you want for yourself and what would you like to send to other people? And to whom do you want your hard-earned dollars or soon-to-be credit card debt to benefit?

Unless we want to have to shovel a path to our doorways through Amazon boxes, why don’t we consider our own Main Streets here at home as a great place to shop. We locals are all in this together so let’s support one another. The members of our community who run individual shops deserve our business. We also have a wealth of individual local artisans creating everything from soap to sculptures, novels, photographs, wine, jam, clothing, plays, music, jewelry, dog biscuits, and beanies made with individual care and love. Keep an eye out for a host of local holiday craft fairs and shopping events.

In my village of Sag Harbor, SUNNY is a locally owned shop on Main Street which had a special evening with several local artists to sell their beautiful creations including Anna Clejan who makes sacred ceramics, Heidi Fokine with her shamanic wall hangings, and Elizabeth Karsch with her expressive paintings. We all need a healthy dose of good energy, and supporting our neighbors and artistic community is an excellent way to spread holiday cheer. We don’t want to have main streets with only real estate agencies and Fifth Avenue big brand names.

Shopping is meant to be a pleasurable experience (skinny jean fiasco not counting), and so is giving. Even if you don’t have Julia Roberts’s mega smile, the satisfaction is enough. Whether the gift is for someone else or yourself, big or small, wrapped beautifully or in tinfoil recycled from last night’s restaurant doggy bag, let it be meaningful and support something you care about. And for those who are a bit recycling-challenged it saves taking all those Amazon boxes to the dump.

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