Somerville Local First

‘Tis the Season: On Shifting Your Shopping

Nov 09 3:14 pm

By David J. Day

There’s been a lot of talk these days about Occupy, the 99%, Moving Your Money, the Koch Mafia and the end of Democracy. All of these are a part of an ongoing dialog, and I, for one, am enthusiastic that topics of such great magnitude are being discussed and brought to the consciousness of a nation.

         Now it is time to act.

Come on guys! There's even an old timey holiday movie referencing this stuff...George Bailey: one of the 99%!

A great deal of good was done this summer, but the engine of our economy, our democracy, of the very nation we love, is holiday shopping. And in this time of economic crisis, there may be no more important holiday shopping season. It’s estimated that you as an individual are going to spend $704.18 on gifts this season. OK, maybe it’s not that much-but with such a tremendous amount of urgency in the air, where you put that money could make all the difference in the world.


As a resident of the greater Boston area, I’ve seen what localization can do. Entire city squares can be transformed. Industries can be revitalized. Local shops grow into local chains.

         But we can’t stop there.

The time has come, especially during this crucial winter, to make a decided effort to not just shift our shopping 10 percent, or move our money to a local bank (both great things to be sure), but to consider each and every spend as an empowered movement in and of itself.

This season, it’s all about the gifts you give. Look for local artists and buy what they’ve got. Hit the butcher shop on the corner and ask them if they have gift certificates. Looking for a snazzy winter coat? Consider going vintage. Have a friend whose car needs repair? Ask them to borrow it for a weekend and take it to the local body shop. The ideas, as varied as the locally-owned businesses all around you, are endless.

As we are all becoming aware, corporations make political moves to squash your neighborhood. They turn labor into commodity. They squeeze each and every industry they touch until they are unbleeding stones. And, if you pay close enough attention, you’ll see they are as eager to take your holiday shopping money as ever before: running massive sales, deepening discounts, lengthening layaways, and holding morning sales events that will redefine the term “Black Friday.” They want your money so desperately, they will spare no expense.

         Don’t give it to them.

It’s as much about our community as ever before. Encourage others to do the same-I think you’ll find everyone more than receptive of the message. Let’s turn the holidays of 2011 into a referendum on the world we want to live in, not the one they want to rule. The most powerful weapon you have is your pocketbook.

        Use it wisely.

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