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Consumerism Conflict

’Tis the season to be sold something.  Everywhere you look you see some advertising that tells you that you should buy something.  They tell you your loved ones need more stuff and they will only love you if you buy it for them.  This has bothered some people so much that they refuse to participate in the holiday gifting ritual.  They choose to not give, or only give something intangible.

I get both of these practices.  I dislike consumerism and commercialism.  It seems to take the life out of everything.  Parents are made to feel like they can’t tell their children “sorry, you didn’t get (insert hot gift item here) this year because I refused to brawl with other parents for it.”  We’ve forgotten that it’s the thought that counts.  But the businesses that are involved with these products have to sell them so they can stay in business.  It becomes a fight for survival.

On the other hand when people say “I’m not buying/giving gifts this year” I cringe also.  This means they are not buying any pottery from me.  So where I understand and even admire this boycott of the consumerism madness I also have that fight for survival.  Holiday sales are the bulk of my income.  As much as I like to say I’m an artist I also realize that I’m a retailer and I have to sell my product.  It’s not romantic, but it is life.

Handcrafted Om Mugs by Future Relics Gallery
Om Mugs

So what is the balance to this conflict?  I feel like it’s a matter of what you give.  Anyone can pick up a stack of gift cards and hand them out to friends and family.  If they are really being mindful it should take them a couple of minutes to decide which gift card would be best for which person.  Good deal, 5 minutes, all your holiday shopping is finished, go celebrate the season, thanks for the thought.

When people come to pick out gifts from my pottery they usually take their time, they look at a piece from different angles, they touch, they hold, they imagine.  They often comment about how much they would like this same piece for themselves.  They may not realize at that time that they can go enjoy the piece while they are visiting with this friend or family member.  They are giving something of value, something of worth and something of themselves even if it was not made by their hands.  It is something that speaks to them.  It shows caring, it should be why we give gifts.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Comments

  1. Many clients have hired me as a gift for their loved ones.

    XOT

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    1. That is also a really great and thoughtful gift. They get it.

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  2. I have consumerism conflict both in selling and buying, ha

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    1. I’d love to hear more about that Linda.

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  3. I tend to go with local and/or person-oriented business vs corporations. That's kind of hard for gifts for people that don't care for hand crafted art...but I keep pushing pottery into their hands anyway.

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    1. Even if people don’t care for handcrafted art I’m sure you can find something from a small, local, independent business or something that shows a thoughtful gift.

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  4. Mindful giving..... Even if it's a gift from Walmart, if the receiver likes Walmart, fine. Just give with thoughtfulness and joy, not from obligation and pressure from the Black Friday pushers! Buy local, buy art, buy useful things. And think about the landfills......

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    1. Yes Tracey, I have plenty of friends that like Walmart. Since I’m morally opposed to Walmart I can’t get them a gift from there or a gift card to the store. I can however still give a thoughtful gift that they might enjoy.

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  5. ditto what Tracey said. Everyone has different tastes. I once gave a handmade Shaker candle box to my step mother in-law. It was from Frye's Measure Mill, an authentic maker in the small, NH town I lived in. It was beautiful, and not inexpensive. I think she was clueless about it's value or beauty. She probably would have enjoyed something from Walmart. Lesson learned.

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    1. Ditto my comment to Tracey. I believe it’s possible to give a meaningful, thoughtful gift to someone without stepping into Walmart, I’ve done it for over 10 years now so that is what I base this on, I could be wrong.

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  6. I know, I feel the same way and you have put it well: people should not greedily ask for Chinese made crap, but the thoughtful gift of food or something made from the heart is what Christmas is. And since so few people send letters in the US mail, I like to make my cards and letters as artistic as possible with drawings and a handmade card. You wish the world tried to be a little more imaginative!

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    1. Thanks Gary. Your drawings are so cute I bet they make great cards. Do you have any printed to sell?

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  7. I actively dislike giving mass produced stuff, but I look at all the wonderful handmade stuff available I think how well certain things would suit certain people. The pottery solution is always welcomed by the family.
    Gary, I love your way of personalizing your cards and all.

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  8. I sort of like to make fun of consumerism and give gag gifts, candy, funny toys or if I can find them odd things like Halloween masks purchased off a sale rack etc... Tho, for certain people, hand made is the only way to go. I think the key is to know who your are selecting a gift for. I sure miss mudfire. Nice Ohm mugs by the way.

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    1. Thanks Be. You are missed at MudFire.

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