December 2018 Midwest Nest
I could use my entire December editorial to talk about the importance of shopping small businesses during the holidays, but by now, we should all know the impact that shopping local can have on our economy and the strength of our community. This year, if you promise to spend your dollars wisely and locally, I will spare you my annual rant and share an entirely different concept in "shopping small".
Have you seen the meme that refers to a child telling a mom that they're out of toothpaste and the mom instinctively plans to include said necessary item in the poor child's stocking? After all, what's another couple of weeks without toothpaste? A good laugh later, it occurred to me that my mom wasn't the only one that did this.
Stockings were hung and each year they were stuffed up to the white rim of fur with toothpaste, socks, potent holiday lotion and an assorted pack of Chapstick, among other completely practical and hygienic things. It wasn't until I was in college and started to realize the value of money, that I became grateful for these stocking stuffers and even more grateful that I didn't have to spend my hard-earned Chili's paycheck on them. Antiperspirant, all of a sudden, seemed like an awesome gift.
While these days I'm pushing 40-years-old, thanks to my mom and family tradition, we all still get a stocking. The hygienic necessities have since lessened, but the oddities have definitely increased. Each year, our stockings get a little fuller, stranger and funnier. Since we only give gifts to the nieces and nephews, our stockings have become one small way the adults can still gift each other.
We have a great time shopping at gas stations, grocery stores, boutiques and even hardware stores. Our per-person standard is typically a couple of small, but useful things, then a couple of gag gifts that will grab a good laugh. Tire gauges, bacon air fresheners, Star Wars-themed toilet decals and light-up undergarments are just a few of the surprises one might find in their stocking. How do we know who the gifter is? Just listen for the loudest laugh; that's always a dead giveaway. We spend between $10 and $20 on each other, but seeing eight adults laugh as hard as they used to 20 years ago...now that's priceless. This is our Midwest tradition I can only hope becomes a meme.
Now that I've lured you in with my unusual family traditions, I'm going to swing back to the start. Here is that brief rant on shopping small that I promised I wouldn't do. This month, I encourage everyone to spend a little less time online and a little more time browsing our local stores. The impact of shopping small can be felt across the entire community - a positive outcome which trickles down to our charitable organizations, schools, athletics, arts and culture programs. With holiday shopping in full swing, please give our local stores a little extra love and stuff those stockings with the funniest things you can find. A good laugh is always a great gift.
Happy Holidays from our Midwest Nest family to yours,
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