Taming the Gimmes

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Last year, my children caught the Gimmes at Christmas. I don’t know how they got infected, but our normally sweet, polite, angelic (OK, that may be stretching it) children couldn’t get enough presents. They’d shred the paper off each gift, toss it aside and reach eagerly for the next hit with barely an acknowledgement of what was inside.

This year, we’ve changed the way we look at holiday gifting by focusing on three things that help us give back to our community, better manage the budget, and, hopefully, tame the Gimmes.

Shop local

I’m pretty sure my kids think presents simply fall from the sky — literally in the case of Christmas sleighs — but we want them to start to have a better understanding of where goods come from, the costs, and the importance of supporting our independent shopkeepers.

Gordon Stevens, founder of I Love Local HFX, says shopping locally is always important, but even more so at Christmas.

“Most retailers rely on the holiday season to support the rest of the year,” Stevens explains. “When you shop locally, your money circulates in your own community — providing jobs, supporting local arts and culture, and helping to create and maintain a community's identity.” This year we’re making our list and checking it twice to see which things we can buy locally, and bringing the children along when we can to involve them in the process.

Give back

Not everyone in our city has access to the resources they need to live comfortably, but there are many support programs in each community that help.