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November 27, 2017

Use your Gift-Giving Superpowers for Good this Year.

Another rejection letter sits like a weight on my chest.

I know rejections are the plague of a writer’s existence, but my entire heart and soul is written into this novel of mine. The publishing market isn’t easy to break into and as artists, we’re supposed to have a thick skin.

But today I don’t. I feel this rejection like blades piercing my heart.

This terrifying feeling of failure consumes us when we have an all-encompassing dream that hasn’t yet come true. We stand on a precipice with all of our hopes and aspirations desperate to come to fruition. And I know I’m not alone.

We all have dreams. They come in as many sizes and shapes as holiday gift boxes. Some are small dreams, tied up with a neat bow, and others are too large to fit inside any one package. But each dream we nurture—publicly or privately—is precious. And when we take one out of the box and put it on display for the world, it’s often more nerve-racking than rewarding. To most, our dream looks simply like a book or a piece of art. To us? It’s everything.

This holiday season let’s support those dreams, rather than big-box stores.

When we buy gifts, let’s choose to shop in a way that furthers the dream of someone we know. Do we have any friends who wrote a book? Yes! Put it on our holiday wish-list or buy it as a gift for someone else. Do we have friends who are artists? Yes! Let’s buy from them. Are our friends in sales—do they sell jewelry or bath products or essential oils? Yes! Let’s support their small businesses and livelihoods.

During this holiday season, it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll purchase something. We’ll find gifts for beloved teachers, hostess presents, and something to bring to that office holiday party. Consider skipping Bath & Body Works and purchase from a direct sales company—there are many that are American-made and eco-friendly. If we don’t have a friend who sells them, I bet we know someone with a friend who does.

An individual dream is worth more than a commercial gift from a big-box store.

And if we don’t know an artist, writer, or direct sales person (unlikely, but possible), we can always buy local and support small businesses. Often, small business owners have dreams too, and those dreams don’t have the luxury of offering cut-rate prices for holiday sales. Still, they rely on their shoppers to subsidize their dreams.

I get that we can’t always afford to spend a lot of money. Many families live paycheck to paycheck. But when we do spend, we can choose to think carefully about where we spend our money and how we can support the dreams of others. Sure, it’s not our responsibility to personally fund another’s dream, but when we have a dream, don’t we need other people’s support?

As my own dreams hang delicately in the balance between creation and achievement, I’ve started to think that I could better support the dreams of others. After all, the big-box stores will likely never miss the money I spend elsewhere, but it could mean the world to someone pursuing a dream. And if I can make a dream come true in a small way? What a beautiful holiday gift to give!

~

Relephant: 

Elephant Journal’s Ethical Holiday Gift Guide

Organic. Local. Cheaper Than Walmart.

~

Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Flickr
Editor: Kenni Linden
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman

Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

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