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The End It Project: Shop Small

On the 27th of each month, I try to post about my End It Project, inspired by the End It Movement (which raises awareness about the 27 million people enslaved in our world today). This month, I'm combining it with my weekly thankfulness post. Let's talk about gratitude and consumerism!

First, the weekly reckoning...
1069. Brooklyn excitedly "pop pop pop"ing with the Bubbles Bubbles book
1070. Adam shooing me out of the apartment for some alone time
1071. while he took care of dinner and bedtime for Brooklyn
1072. Three more new knitters, and five panels turned in for Warm Up America!
1073. An assortment of Christmas cards made by/supporting the card ministry
1074. Adam setting up Sprout's room and the new carseat, and making lunch, while I was gone
1075. Both waking up before the alarm went off
1076. Reading in bed while Adam did his morning routine
1077. New thoughts on familiar Scriptures
1078. My Tuesday appointment getting moved to Monday, with the appointment I already had - now it's over with, and that only leaves one more early morning this week
1079. Brooklyn overcoming her struggle to tip up a sippy cup by lying on her back to drink from it
1080. Adam's affirmation and commendation of my attempt at positive-reinforcement parenting
1081. Sitting on the couch and reading Counting Kisses with Brooklyn - it got a bad day back on a better track
1082. Humidifying the apartment with a simmering pot of water (and managing to not accidentally boil it dry)
1083. Laundry done and bags packed for our trip
1084. Sprout being awake and squirming during monitoring - it meant they didn't have to do it for as long
1085. Adam renewing my tags (and not getting pulled over during the two months they'd been expired without me noticing)
1086. Time to finish getting ready and to rest a little before we needed to leave

After the dessert is eaten and somebody puts away the meager leftovers and gets to work on the mountain of dishes left in the wake of a homecooked Thanksgiving meal (unless your family abandons tradition for ease and orders food to be eaten on disposable tableware), a new tradition has arisen: the Black Friday Battle Plan. Flyers are distributed, maps and lists consulted and created, and everyone goes to bed early, or doesn't go to bed at all between the need to camp out in front of some stores and the ones that go ahead and open the evening of Thanksgiving Day.

I would like to propose an alternative. It doesn't require that you get up early or wait in long lines in the cold/wet, and you'll be interacting with happy, friendly people instead of angry mobs and minimum wage retail workers at the end of their patience and a 12+ hour shift. You'll still get all of your Christmas shopping done, and you'll be waging painless war against the soulless machine of consumerism. It's called (drumroll, please...) Plaid Friday, and Small Business Saturday (you have options).

Originating in Oakland California four years ago, Plaid Friday is the brick-and-mortar alternative to Black Friday. Some shops offer discounts specifically to customers wearing plaid, others simply have sales, but either way it's definitely a warmer atmosphere --- Small Business Saturday also began in 2010, and it's a way for the shop owners (and for you) to stay home on Friday but still get Christmas taken care of before December. You won't find pallets of expensive electronics marked 80% off, but consider this: the stores, any stores, are not taking a hit. If a business can afford to sell popular, current items for that deep a discount, be assured that they're still getting more than they paid for it. And once you factor in all of the middle-men between, that leaves the original people who made the item working for pennies (if they're getting paid at all).

So you may "only" find things for 40% off (usually the deepest discount an independent business can offer without losing money) but you'll not only be supporting a person, you'll also be ensuring that 68% of what you spend goes back into your community. And you don't have to raise your budget - try giving less, instead. Our lives and homes are filled with so much stuff, and so much of what's purchased as gifts is meant to fill a guilt-induced quota with little consideration for the recipient. Yes, we all have people that we have no idea what to get, but if you must go the route of kitsch jewelry and bath salt, of wallets and shot glasses at least get them locally (this also reduces the chance of you accidentally getting someone the same thing that someone else got them).

Search the hashtags PlaidFriday, ShopSmall, and SmallBusinessSaturday to find participating businesses near you, and then spend tomorrow building relationships (with local shop owners and with the friends and family you shop with, since you'll be able to enjoy a less stressful, more leisurely shopping experience) instead of joining the display-destroying frenzy - or spend the day with friends and family in the comfort of your own homes, and save your shopping for Saturday.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will trust in Him.
[Lamentations 3:22-24]

Won't you join us in counting (and recounting!) His mercies anew? Just grab a journal or notebook (it doesn't have to be fancy) and a pen and write them down, then join us each week to encourage each other by sharing all of the blessings we've spotted. Catch up on everyone's posts and if you don't have a blog, feel free to participate by commenting, instead!

Check out these #NewEveryMorning hosts, as well, and don't forget to use the hashtag on Twitter so that we can find each other:
   Kayla [at] Renown and Crowned
   Kelsey [at] Faith Fun and the Fergusons

Instead of overloading ourselves with stress and our friends and family with stuff, let's all be grateful for what we already have this holiday season, and share our thanks with those we're thankful for!


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It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

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