My Holiday Haul

I have always thought holiday shopping is a great metaphor for all that is unsustainable about our culture.  Shopping, much of it manic and mindless, for large quantities of cheap goods that turn out to be of questionable value and you can never be sure they are actually wanted.  University of Minnesota economist Joel Waldfogel coined the phrase “deadweight of Christmas” with research that essentially indicates whatever you buy as a gift for another person during the holiday season will turn out to have less to no value for the recipient.  While I have no issue with holiday gift-giving I do think it should evolve into something less wasteful.  So I do apply certain principles when choosing gifts for others – sustainably produced, environmentally friendly, etc. – however I don’t have much control over what they buy for me.  This is not the most comfortable of topics to bring up with people.  There is no polite way to say “please don’t buy me anything made in a Bangladeshi death trap factory.”  I started by dropping hints that I preferred edible and drinkable gifts and that went surprisingly well.  I have even noticed that people find it easier to buy chocolates or a bottle of wine.  As I have babbled about my concerns on consumer goods over time, it seems my friends and family have responded.  Among the items I received this year were:

Señorío de Vizcántar organic olive oil from Cordoba, Spain
Taza Chocolate, organic and sustainably produced from the cacao growers to the factory in Somerville
Lodge Cast Iron Fry Pan, made in the USA from a 100-year old company
Reusable Produce bags from Crate and Barrel


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