Preserve, Conserve and Shop Small

It saddened me to learn that many large-box retailers opened their doors yesterday...on Thanksgiving. Here’s Walmart’s rational:

"We bought deep, very deep, and we bought deep on items that matter to our customers," said Walmart U.S. Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer, Duncan Mac Naughton.

What’s deeper than spending time with loved ones on Thanksgiving? 

"Walmart's offers will include video games starting at $10 and home appliances such as a Crock Pot slow cooker for $9.44 each."

There's an underlying disconnect…and discontent in this deep thinking that inherently weakens communities.

But who am I to tell Walmart, the largest US employer, what to do? I live in a thriving small town that flourishes over the holidays. Local holiday shopping starts today and helps keep the merchants afloat during the less lucrative winter months. Shopping local during the holiday season creates jobs, boosts the economy, and preserves our neighborhoods. Keeping with peaceful holiday tidings, being a "locavore" matters because it conserves precious energy (the malls are often quite a driving distance away), and preserves our small towns.

In the spirit of the season, let’s be conscious of where we shop. It matters more than saving a few cents on video games and Crockpots. In fact, it matters because shopping local is the glue that holds communities together.

Photo: Fickr

Keep The Peace With A DIY Peace Wreath

As someone who blends holiday traditions, believe me, peace binds it all together. The universal message of peace is always in season. Throughout the holidays we sing of Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards...Men!?!

OK, here's a good place to start.

Isn't it about time we ditched the men-only lingo?

Now that we have that straightened out...

What do you do about family members who don't exude peaceful, easy feelings?

Embedded in my Steps For Creating Peace...Someday post is one of my favorite holiday songs -- Stevie Wonder's, Someday At Christmas.

Don't you just love that song?

Becoming Minimalist addressed the gift of creating overdue family peace...

5 Steps To Create Peace At Home

1. Determine to be responsible for your attitude, not others. (I'll let the over 90 yr-old relatives off the hook on the...Good Will Towards Men-thing.) 2. Embrace humility and forgive. (Not touching this.) 3. Accept disagreement and put it behind you. (Easy. Done.) 4. Take the first step. (Here you go...) 5. Create a Peace Wreath.

Let's share peace, even with those who push non-peaceful buttons. Create a handmade spin on the traditional holiday wreath.

DIY Peace Wreath

What you need:

4 wire hangers or a wreath form floral wire wire cutters pliers evergreen branches

What to do:

1. With the pliers straighten two coat hangers and form them into a circle. 2. Hook the ends together by twisting the wire. 3. Bend the other hanger wire into a circle making sure it is about 1″ smaller than the first one. 4. Hook the ends together, forming a circle. 5. Take the fourth hanger and cut and wrap it to form a peace symbol in the inside circle 6. Cut branches to 4-6″ lengths. 7. Gather the branches into bundles. 8. Secure the bundles with the floral wire. 9. Lay a bundle on the form and tightly wrap it with wire. 10. Without cutting the wire, add another bundle so that it overlaps the bottom half of the previous one. 11. Repeat around. 12. Cover peace symbol in the same overlapping manner. 13. Make a wire loop on top or use the hanger hook to attach.

Don't forget to add a note and include one of these quotes:

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means at which we arrive at that goal.” Martin Luther King, Jr. “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix “Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace is its own reward.” Mahatma Gandhi “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” John Lennon

Decking The Nest Early?

Don't get me wrong, I love the winter holidays...just not yet.

I ducked into the Apple store at the Danbury Mall last weekend to get my iPhone fixed. Lining the mall, the trees were trimmed, the holiday tunes were humming and credit cards were working overtime...five days after Halloween. I was having a hard time conjuring up warm holiday spirits (like the image above). In fact, I channeled Scrooge to anyone who would listen. Those poor people who had just come in to check their email because they were still out of power from a freak snowstorm thought I was nuts.

Welcome to the Holiday Creep – the commercial phenomenon created by retailers to accelerate the start of the holiday shopping season. When you venture into the stores, you’d better watch out and you’d better not pout.

But not all stores sign on early. Check out my latest Care2 post and find out how Nordstrom’s is obviously not the norm. Not only do they have an eco-friendly shopping policy, they don't buy into the creepy behavior of other stores that attempt to cash in before the turkey takes center stage. Did I mention they also have a fabulous shoe department?

Tell the truth, when does Rudolph start ringing the sleigh bells in your nest?

Photo: Remodelista