The holiday season is upon us once again along with the bombardment of holiday marketing and advertising. It used to be that you only received ads on radio, TV and in the mail. Now, you also receive ads on the free apps you have on your smartphone or tablet, in your email inbox, on webpages you are browsing, and via text messages on your cell. It’s non-stop. I counted over 100 emails alone in my inbox for Black Friday and Cyber Monday! I used to get that many emails per day when I worked for Corporate America; I never thought I would continue to reach those kinds of numbers with junk email!
Anyway, my point is that despite all the advertising and marketing suggestions I’ve received, I am still of the mind set that giving thoughtful and meaningful gifts to friends and family is the best way to honor them and the holiday. I don’t need a diamond necklace embedded in a box of chocolates, or the latest video game that creates loud noises and lots of carnage, or the latest smartphone or tablet, or a big flat screen TV or any of the myriad of other products that have been thrown at me since before Thanksgiving. However, it’s all too easy to become spellbound by the ads and rush down to the local chain store, grab that item off the shelf (or out of someone’s hand), and pull out your credit card before you have time to really think about what you are doing.
I like the idea of giving a homemade or local gift. I can’t imagine that something that was mass produced and cheaply made will send the same message to the recipient. This year, I am making different kinds of bark to give as gifts. Bark, you say? Yes, chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate with pistachios, with ginger, and with peppermint. It’s easy to make, pretty to look at and delicious. Here’s a peppermint bark recipe to try:
We have an organization here called Buy Local Lincoln County that promotes spending locally. The message is simple: spend your dollars on things you need and want locally to help support the small businesses in the area. Sure, sometimes you have to buy something on the internet or at a big chain, but not always. I go to my local resource first for things I need—it makes me feel good to support their business. This is the time of year when the local businesses need our support the most so they too can enjoy the holidays with their friends and families—we are all connected!
I hope this inspires everyone to think, before they buy, about what they are buying, where they are buying it and who it is for. Our economy is still recovering and this is the time to shop thoughtfully, meaningfully and locally. And if you have the time, make some bark–for yourself or someone else. Who knows, it might become an annual tradition!
Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy holiday season from Bruce & me! A presto!