Well, folks, here I am again.  At your service, poised and ready to take the fun out of another holiday! (Just kidding.  Mostly.) Although, I AM planning on completely sitting out this Thanksgiving.  My kids whine and complain ever year about the traditional Thanksgiving fare.  I’m not really excited about cooking all day just to hear them complain about the food.  You know what I hate?  Whining.  You know what else I hate?  Cleaning my kitchen.  So we’ll be hitting the beach in the morning and then hitting a restaurant in the evening, so the kids can order chicken fingers with fries and I can eat a nice meal that I didn’t cook. Win-win. Anyways, back to ruining holidays.  I’ve been a little fascinated with the Occupy Wallstreet movement over the past few months.  No matter your political persuasion, I think we could all agree that our country is suffering from a heavy dose of overspending and materialism, both at the corporate and the individual level.  I’ve seen some murmurings of an Occupy Christmas meme, and I really like the concept, because it’s putting responsibility back on the individual.  I compiled a list of ways that consumers can make a difference this holiday season (made pretty by the talented Heather Hamilton at Life Made Lovely): occupy christmas Pin It I like the idea of taking small steps towards change.  I don’t think that anyone needs to forego Christmas, but in our current economic climate and with the fuzzy ethics of so many big corporations and banks, I do like the idea of wise spending.  I saw this video recently encouraging people to make just one fair-trade purchase this holiday season.  I really like seeing churches getting involved in fair-trade.  I truly believe that our willingness to pay a fair wage for goods is one of the best ways to address the disparity between those of us who “have” and those who “have not”.   And I’m not talking about the oft-referenced 99% right now.  Because regardless of what financial disparities we experience here in the US, 99% of us are still wealthier than most people living in third world countries, amIright? Over the next week, I’m going to try to give suggestions for this whole Occupy Christmas thing.  I’m working on a holiday gift guide.  I do this every year, and while I will still highlight some mainstream products (finding unique developmental toys has always been a focus for the gift guide), I’m also trying to add in some gift ideas for fair-trade items, as well as toys and gifts that are from smaller businesses or handmade in the US.  I’m also going to do another gift guide solely comprised of gifts that give back, which I’m excited about.  If I get my act together, I will also host a link-up where you can submit some of your favorite etsy or micro-enterprise gift ideas, because there is no way I can cover them all.  Hopefully this can be a resource for taking some small steps towards showing big businesses that consumers really do care about the ethics behind their purchases. Also, check out this post at the Exceptional Man – Caleb makes a compelling case against shopping on Black Friday Eve. Now go on and have a great Thanksgiving!!  Hope that turkey was free range. KIDDING!   (not really)