Friday November 28th, 2014 Newsletter excerpt...
I would like to take this moment to sincerely wish all of my American readers a heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday and I hope you are enjoying a blessed weekend with your family and friends.
This week’s newsletter is all about shopping - because the crazy shopping season is here.
How are your gift lists coming along? Did you remember to create a juicy ‘I want’ list for yourself?!!
You do have a Christmas wish list right?
I bet that your loved ones would really like to know what gift would light you up on Christmas morning. So help them out. Tell them what you want.
Of course I suggest you start your list off with art supplies! J
This is important because I know a lot of you feel reluctant to indulge in art supplies. Maybe you are raising a family or perhaps you are retired. Whatever the reason, perhaps money is a bit tight during the year. The cost of art supplies can add up. For some of you, it isn’t about the money. It is simply because you don’t normally treat yourself to hobby purchases.
If this is you, now is the perfect time to get what you would like. And remember, you are sparing your loved ones the agony of having to come up with a gift idea on their own. That is a very loving thing for you to do.
If you haven’t crafted your list yet, go through your art making work space and think of things you might be able to use.
Could your studio set up use a desk lamp or perhaps some plastic bins to hold pencils and pastels? How about a new sketch book or some new paints and brushes? Maybe a desk top easel or a pad of your favourite paper?
If your loved ones don’t have a clue about what to shop for in an art supply store get very specific. Write out the brand name of the must have pencil or paint set you want. Give lots of descriptive detail. Or go buy your goodies yourself and hand them over for your loved ones to wrap and offer up on the 25th .
You could also see if your favourite art store offers gift certificates.
Okay, I shall assume that you will give this some thought and you will put some arty things on your list. Yeehaw!
Now, what are you going to buy for people?
Christmas is the perfect time to support the artists in your local community. Give handmade, artisan gifts of pottery, woven items, jewelry, hand crafted children’s toys and games, soaps and lotions. Visit craft fairs and any events put on by your local Farmer’s Market – think locally made salsas, jams and other condiments.
I know this message of ‘shop local’ gets old and I hope you will forgive me for writing something of a Public Service Announcement, it is just that I see an awful lot of art loving folks forgetting to support artists with their dollars at this time of year. An awful lot of folks, seriously...
Remembering those in need:
If you really want to brighten up your Christmas (cause this sort of giving feels soooo good) all while making a stranger’s holiday super bright as well, extend your giving to people who need some help.
Purchase some colouring books, crayons, markers, or pens and colourful pads of paper. Then consider who could use them. Perhaps the organizers of the local toy drive would like such items as gifts for children. How about your local homeless shelter? Entire families can find themselves needing the services of shelters and basic art supplies are a great way for kids to have fun in a disturbing situation.
Check to see if your local hospital could use some art making supplies for their children’s wing. How about your local seniors home? Sketch books, pens and coloured pencils are terrific, no mess items. Users don’t need access to sinks and water for clean up and they are easy for people in wheel chairs to use, people who might find working at an easel difficult.
Spread the word to your friends, neighbours and family and get them involved in this sharing of love.
So maybe you are like me and you are totally fed up with Black Friday and busy malls and shopping for meaningless stuff. If so, I shall present my radical, life changing Christmas gift giving idea.
At first reading it may not seem feasible but hang in with me...see if the idea starts to grow on you.
You see several years ago I declared I had had enough.
I just never looked as happy as this lady after shopping for oodles of gifts, never mind spending hours doing all of that neat wrapping.
I was fed up with spending money and life energy on buying gifts for people that had so much. You know who I mean, the people that ‘have everything’ so you fuss and fret trying to come up with gift ideas.
I was also overwhelmed with the stuff just for stuff’s sake that was coming into our home over the holidays. Every first week of January, I would stare at these gifts that I didn’t need nor want wondering what to do with them. I was also pretty certain that most of the folks buying us these things were doing so out of a sense of obligation, caught in the same trap as we were, because tis the season after all.
So I talked it over with my husband and then I cancelled Christmas – well gift giving anyway. We announced our plans to family and friends. We would no longer be accepting gifts nor would we be buying gifts. INSTEAD we would be donating money to various charities in honour of our loved ones. If people wished to, they could do the same on our behalf, in lieu of ‘stuff’.
Not everyone understood at first. For example, my mother-in-law donated to a charity AND got us a gift for a few years. We persisted. We didn’t buy her a gift but instead we asked her to tell us what she would like as a donation. She asked if we would stock a medical clinic in Africa via World Vision in her honour, so we did and we continue to do so.
Over the years we have bought winter coats for children in Romania, bought hens and a rooster for families in developing countries, sent money to assist in getting young girls out of the sex trade etc.
This all feels absolutely wonderful and for me it is in keeping with the true spirit of Christmas.
Now you don’t have to cancel all gift giving. You may want to buy gifts for your grandkids or your spouse or your mom and dad. My husband and I still exchange gifts. Simply consider if there is some way this might work for you.
If this sounds at all appealing, I encourage you to look up charities on line. There are lots of reputable groups doing fabulous work and your donations go where they are supposed to.
Organizations like World Vision have a gift giving catalogue on-line and you can donate in a couple of clicks:
You can check out this organization that builds schools in developing countries, Pencils Of Promise, http://pencilsofpromise.org/
If your loved ones are into environmental causes, there are lots of environmental organizations that would love a donation.
Do you have a local animal sanctuary that you could support?
All major cities have homeless shelters. If you live in Ottawa, consider supporting The Mission: http://ottawamission.com/. This is a great organization. You can give money to provide daily meals or you can check out their website for most needed items – things like warm socks and hats and mitts - great if you enjoy shopping, and you want to give something physical and not cash.
The problems of the world seem so overwhelming at times but we really can help make a difference. Even small donations impact lives in incredible ways.
Here is an update on Suzanne’s stained art work – she managed to get them out. Phew. She used my bleach idea. Because her stains were splotchy, she says she decided to dampen a cotton make up remover pad. Using light pressure she dabbed the bleach onto the paper. The stains weren’t deep and the colour bleached out beautifully. Yay Suzanne!
Have a great weekend everyone!