On Sunday the sermon at my church was based on four "s"'s of Christmas - Spend, Share, Save and be Spiritual. Our Minister talked about the need for all four over Christmas. It was a timely message as, for the last few weeks, I have been struggling with this retail idea that we somehow need to start pushing Christmas on people right after Halloween and use whatever marketing tools we can to get people to spend, spend, spend!
As much as I could I've been resisting but it's hard not to feel like you're missing some major selling opportunity. Of course I want people to spend some of their Christmas money at my Gallery but I am uncomfortable with this relentless pace of seasonal selling.
I believe that you don't need to completely redecorate your home for Christmas, nor does spending money somehow replace spending time with those that matter. I want your Christmas to be special not because of how much you spent, or how many fabulous deals you snapped up at some megastores massive pre-Christmas/december sale. I want it to be special because of the time you shared with friends and family.
I want your shopping experience to be meaningful too. I hate feeling pressured to buy the latest and greatest thing, I dislike feeling overwhelmed in busy and impersonal stores, lining up and listening to the same Christmas music for weeks on end makes me crazy! I'm guessing I'm not the only one.
Since becoming a small business owner I've become very aware that it doesn't have to be that way! There are many ways to spend a few dollars that allow you to enjoy your shopping. One way is to shop local and buy unique gifts. Perhaps you spend a bit more time picking them out - but maybe you shop with a friend and go for lunch too, how great would that be! Perhaps you buy a little less - but maybe each thing is chosen with a little more care and brings a little more joy.
Here at the Gallery we're trying something a little different. Ruth (my daughter) and I will be decorating, just a little, on Saturday - just before advent and then starting December 1st we'll be running our Twelve Days (or maybe a few more days) of Christmas event. The idea is to take the hustle and bustle out of Christmas shopping, give back a little and enjoy this busy time.
So spend a little - at the Gallery would be great; save a little - just one less gift; share as much as you can, and take some time to reflect on life and all it's blessings.