Last week a friend graciously invited me to hear author David Sedaris read from his work at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta (it truly is fabulous). Sedaris and I spent time together during the summer of 2018 while I listened to the audio version of his book Calypso ,and then Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. He was a wonderful traveling companion.
Drawing his keen observations about life to a close, he added that he likes to close with a recommended book. On Wednesday he encouraged audience members to read The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. Sedaris explained that usually he suggests a book available in paperback, but that Patchett’s book is only out in hardcover, and well worth the cost.
Then he segued to how audience members should buy the book. Recently a friend called him, saying that Amazon had just delivered the recommended book. The author was a little put out with his friend. He adroitly pointed out that a local bookstore had copies of the book in the theatre lobby where the friend had attended Sedaris’s reading. Why walk past the book, right there, offered to you by a local business employing local residents, and order from Amazon?
Sedaris is right. For no more effort than perhaps standing in line for a couple of minutes, the local business put the book in the hands of every customer that night. The same could be done the next day or the next week in their store. That’s what local businesses do.
So, with that in mind, as many people map out their holiday shopping with Black Friday bargains and schematics for getting through their list, take a deep breath, and put the list down for a minute.
What happens if you buy the gift in a store, handed to you by a real person in your community? Or at a local artisan and craft fair, where you may meet the person whose work you are buying.
Or, if you can’t find something locally, maybe you could do some homework and find an artisan who is making beautiful things, one at a time, with attention to detail, who offers them online. If you go that route, read the artisan’s “About” info and see why they are offering their work to the world
Make your list. Check it twice. Then buy the hardcover book, the artwork made by a self-trained artist who works with found materials, or the knitted shawl made with yarn dyed and spun by the person who then transformed it into the gift you are buying. Make the experience of finding the right gift an opportunity to build connections in your own community.