Homemade is the new black

Black Friday is coming.
The day when North Americans do what they do best this time of year - consume.

Black Friday is coming.

The day when North Americans do what they do best this time of year – consume.

There is a blackfriday.com website, all dedicated to the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

Generally the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, according to Wikipedia, I don’t even think I would have known what it was when I was younger.

As our desire for more consumer goods grows, so do the profits on Black Friday.

The total consumer spending on Black Friday in the United States in 2011 was $52.4 billion according to Statistic Brain.

Where does this spending get us in the end?

Are we more grateful for Christmas because we have spent so much money?

The stress of the holiday season is often associated with mental health issues and it is unlikely overspending will make that better (sorry, but “retail therapy” is actually not therapeutic for most, just a short-term distraction).

Yet another Facebook campaign has been promoting an alternative to the feeding frenzy of shopping malls and outlet stores, however, and Fort St. James is a perfect place to do it.

The campaign is to encourage people to purchase local and homemade goods for your holiday shopping.

You may have seen it on your friends posts from time to time, I noticed it going around maybe a month or two ago.

The campaign urges people to consider the impacts of what they purchase, and the tragedy in Bangladesh this year when a garment factory collapsed killing many workers drew attention to the plight of underpaid and poorly treated foreign workers.

From the Gap to Apple to Nike, many of the big or more popular name brands have been criticized for their purchasing practices and the conditions in their foreign factories.

Now why is Fort St. James a great place to be able to get on board with the homemade Christmas campaign?

Because it is the home of the largest craft fair in northern B.C. of course.

While the fair has already come and gone, it was as impressive as ever, with an incredible assortment of crafts and gifts to choose from.

There were more vendors than ever, with the second gymnasium having to be opened up to accommodate all of the vendors.

Now if you missed getting all your holiday shopping taken care of or they fair didn’t have what you need, fear not, there are still great options. The local shop The Window Box is always stocked with beautiful goods, some made locally and some brought in, but all with some charm. Clara’s Native Crafts offers some cultural crafts. Local artisans can also be contacted to see what they might have left from the craft fair.

Now with online shopping being made more and more accessible to find what you want, there are also some great online markets for incredible handmade and unique gifts, including 1000 Markets, Art Fire, ArtFlock, DaWanda, Folskie, MadeItMyself and Etsy.

From vintage clothing to jewelry, handmade and unique shoes to purses, shopping at these sites is a guarantee your gift will be unique and often one-of-a-kind.

Now the other option of course is to make gifts yourself, but we are not always as naturally creative in this manner.

If you need ideas and want to peruse some do-it-yourself options, just head over to Pinterest and look under DIY, the options will boggle the mind.