Use Your Money- Etsy
I have a confession: I haven’t started my holiday shopping. That’s right, not one person on my painfully long list of those who’ve been nice has been satisfyingly checked off. Though inexcusable, this embarrassing fact is the result of: 1) an intense (borderline obsessive) desire to give gifts of personal meaning, rather than great expense, and 2) a booked-solid calendar.
This isn’t the first year I’ve been here. For years I’ve spent December rushing from big box store to big box store or, worse yet, searching the online mega-websites for the answer to my friend’s dreams, long after the brick-and-mortars have closed their doors for the night. Though always able to eventually find what was needed (usually with the convenience of free shipping to my door), these gifts felt less like thoughtful treasures than guilty secrets of my irresponsible ways. Not only was I buying impersonal, mass-produced items, but also sending my dollars out of my community and in to the silk-lined pockets of Wall Street. It was beyond amoral – it was the antithesis of the holiday spirit.
But this isn’t church, and I am not here to seek forgiveness. Rather, I take to the internet to declare: I am a saved woman! Though the sin of procrastination sits fresh on my head, this year I have found a way respond, to redeem, to repent – all without leaving my couch.
My friends, I give you Etsy.
Though long-known amongst the hip as the best place to find hand-knit sweaters and vintage spoons, this little website ought to be celebrated far and wide as the internet’s answer to our most ancient place of commerce: the market square. Here, online, in one place, one finds thousands and thousands of craft and vintage products, all made by vendors stretching in a network across the country (and the world!). In their own words, this is a one-stop internet stop dedicated “to empower[ing] people to change the way the global economy works.. bringing heart to commerce and making the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun.”
With every “purchase now” click, I buy a unique, often personalized present while supporting a small business owner. I can even search specifically for items that are made with sustainable, organic materials, or those made right here in my town or zip code! While I can’t tell you exactly what gifts have been purchased (friends and family read Ellas Voice!), I can say interesting finds include:
- a sustainable, modern wood cover for your contemporary friend’s living room light switch, or
- a bracelet made out of piano wire, for your favorite musician, or even
- some nifty double mint organic lip balm, the perfect stocking stuffer.
Go ahead, take a few moments, an hour or two, and explore the website’s vast offerings. Want to take it to the next level? Created a log-in and begin conversations with vendors for additional product information or customized orders. It’s like walking to the neighborhood store – without leaving your desk!
Though face-to-face community is always ideal, in these busy time I am not ashamed to have found an online substitute, and hope you’ll join me in using your money at Etsy – rather than the other online options. Of course, I am sure there are similar diamonds in the internet-rough out there. So now it's your turn- where do you shop online AND support people and the planet at the same time? Together, whether in our local communities or online, we can use our money this year to invest back into communities and stand with the 99%.