The ‘voting with my dollar’ category

Nearly Five Years Old, and It’s Christmas

December 19th, 2019

I have gotten in the habit of casually asking my daughters what they’d like Santa to bring for Christmas. If you’re going to lie to your kids, you might as well really go for it, right?

A recent conversation with Phoebe went like this:

Her: “A rainbow house with unicorns for buttons and hearts to decorate and snow inside to fall.”

Me: “So, like an art project?”

Her: “Except Santa does it.”

Me: ‘How big is it?”

Her: “It doesn’t matter.”

Me: “Like something little to play with?”

Her: “No, so I can be IN it.”

Me: “Like a regular-size house?”

Her: “Yeah.”

When I asked her to clarify later on, she elaborated on the idea, with the house having buttons so you can turn it into a hot air balloon and ride all around the world.

Does anyone know a really good engineer?

Anywaaaay. I have it from a good source that Santa is not bringing her that. She might, though, get the last thing she asked for, which was a remote-controlled car. A toy car, that is. Not, like, a real “but kid-sized” Tesla, which is what my good friend’s son asked for.

Kids these days are getting too savvy, is what.

In the books we read, Santa is always carving bespoke, wholesome wooden toys in his toyshop, and loading up his sleigh with small boxes filled with plainly wrapped square boxes. In real life, there’s plastic and packaging and stickers and odd shapes. 

And speaking of wrapping, as I wrap up my “year of voting with my dollar,” I’ve been thinking hard about that balance between making the holidays less stressful and being very conscientious about where and how I spend my money.

There have been a lot of contradictions in my behavior, I’ll admit.

For instance, I ordered a fair amount of gifts from makers whose hands touched the objects I’m gifting. I love supporting artists and artisans in this way. However, some of them were shipped from places like California, Canada, and fricking Latvia. In one case, I ordered a friend something from California, had it shipped to Vermont so I could wrap it and include it with some other things, and sent it back to her… in California. Ouch.

I also bought a lot of things locally, including one-of-a-kind items at seasonal makers markets — this really adorable rabbit mug that I am probably going to end up keeping. So that backfired.

And — full disclosure — I did order a few things from Amazon, after looking in vain to find them locally. 

Bonus points for me for making homemade wrapping paper with my kids on big rolls of cheap paper we had lying around. Points taken away again after I bought other wrapping supplies at the Dollar Store.

It’s a work in progress. When I started the project earlier this year, I decided to measure my success against whether I made incremental improvements and learned along the way, and in that regard, I’ve certainty what I set out to do. I placed half as many Amazon orders as last year, for instance. And I bought nothing at Walmart. But I still have work to do.

What I’m eating:

More cookies.

What I’m reading:

I was having a convo with a friend about how our kids love making sculptures out of books when I came across this beautiful article about an artist who literally makes sculptures out of books

I was having another slightly more serious conversation with my husband about what gender roles mean and shared this article with him (and now with you): Sex and gender: What is the difference?

What I’m watching:

Finally started watching Ken Burns’ documentary series Country.

What I’m listening to:

I loved this latest Moth story, the first one in the episode Parental Guidance.

What I’m working on:

For Eventbrite: 5 Ways to Build a Diverse Event Team

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