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Friday, January 21, 2022

Shopping locally and sustainably this holiday season

The Art’s Desk shares some local options for holiday shopping to combat mass materialism and waste in American consumer culture

By SIERRA JIMENEZ — arts@theaggie.org

The fever dream of the winter holiday season is here at last. With COVID-19 vaccinations available to everyone aged five and older and booster shots at hand, festivities are mainly back on track this year — a stark difference from the last holiday season. Re-opened shopping centers are bustling and addictive online Black Friday shopping only feeds into high consumer demands and material expenditure around this time of year. 

The average American spends around $998 from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 as of 2020 (and roughly the same for the predicted average of 2021) on gifts, holiday items and non-gift purchases, according to Investopedia. Additionally, Americans dispose of 25% more trash during the holiday season, resulting in an extra 7 million pounds of waste according to Stanford University’s Holiday Waste Prevention page. 

As of 2021, consumers plan on making the majority (57%) of their purchases online, 47% at a department store and only 24% at local or small businesses, according to the National Retail Federation. Shopping locally as opposed to fueling large corporations is beneficial for many reasons — one being decreasing economic inequality in the workforce. 

According to the 2015 study “Wage Inequality and Firm Growth” by Holger M. Mueller, Paige P. Ouimet and Elena Simintzi, the disparity between the best-paid workers and all other workers is far larger at big corporations as opposed to smaller businesses—  a phenomenon they call “corporate consolidation,” where large corporations are spread thin by the increasing market demands. 

Shopping locally further enhances community, social capital and civic engagement as well. According to the 2011 study “The Health and Wealth of US Counties: How the Small Business Environment Impacts Alternative Measures of Development” by Troy C. Blanchard, Charles Tolbert and Carson Menken from the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, there is a strong tie between “an economy of small-scale businesses and improved community well-being, including lower rates of crime and better public health,” through the communities’ “collective efficacy” acting for mutual benefit. 

To help combat the negative impacts of the holiday shopping season, here are some ways you can limit the amount of waste you produce and shop locally this holiday season to better our local and global economy and our planet’s well-being.

Low-waste gift ideas: 

  • Reusable items: Water bottles are a good sustainable and trendy option (Hydroflask, YETI, Camelbak and Nalgene) along with lots of other sustainable gifts!
  • Vintage/secondhand clothing: Do not give into fast fashion; the ‘90s are back and fads come and go. Steer clear of online clothing shopping and check out Depop instead.
  • Handmade gifts: Thoughtful, personalized gifts are heartwarming and priceless (plus they can save you a ton of money).
  • Activities: Evident from the lack of social time with family and friends during the pandemic, make every second count and plan outings and fun things to do together as a gift (it can be as simple as getting dinner in Midtown Sacramento or as extravagant as planning a weekend trip out of town). 
  • Tickets: Now that live events are back in action, go to a live concert in Sacramento or view the latest film at the Varsity Theatre.
  • Wrapping tip: Use old newspaper or magazine pages to wrap gifts — The California Aggie always has leftover papers up for grabs!

Shop Local:

  • Davis Craft and Vintage Fair: Every first and third Sunday of the month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., various local art vendors convene at Central Park to sell their unique crafts. A perfect way to shop locally, support local artists and buy personal gifts (ask if their craft is made out of recycled materials!).
  • Farmer’s Market: Open to all twice a week every Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. and every Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., community members can meander around the diverse organic food and produce stands to get ingredients for holiday dinners and gifts. Art vendors and local shops also appear at this centralized location for individuals to buy their goods (holiday gifts, wink wink). 
  • Armadillo Music: A quaint vintage music shop with affordable used vinyl records, CD’s and cassette tapes.  
  • Newsbeat: A traditional local newsstand with newspapers, magazines, greeting cards and so many more little trinkets. 
  • The Paint Chip: An artist’s heaven with all mediums of art supplies and custom framing to complete the look.   
  • A Better Place to Bead: A free and creative space to create customized beaded jewelry (beads for purchase), get jewelry repairs and take free beading classes. 
  • Avid Reader Active: Davis’ local independent bookstore holding an assortment of books of all genres. 
  • Davis Wine Bar: Offers an assortment of wines, beers, wine tasting and events, perfect for mature holiday gifts, such as a certificate for quality wine tasting. 
  • Bohéme Used Clothing and Gifts: A quirky, vintage and affordable used clothing shop which caters to all styles and sizes.
  • Vault Board Shop: A new locally-owned skate shop including boards, shoes, clothing and skate accessories.
  • Treehouse Vintage: A second-hand co-op of various local fashion vendors selling their vintage finds. 

Locally-owned independent Davis stores keep $68 in the Davis community for every $100 spent, whereas chains only keep $43, according to the Davis Downtown website — so shop locally and sustainably to support our cowtown and protect the planet. 

Written by: Sierra Jimenez — arts@theaggie.org

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