This month's confession is something I'm especially ashamed about. As a small business owner I do my best to do all of my shopping IRL, preferably at small businesses I love. Most of the time I don't care if it costs me a little more, I just think it's an important thing to do. This year, for the first time ever, all of my holiday shopping was done online. I don't think I even shopped at a single online small business.
But here's the thing: It's REALLY hard to run a small business during the holidays. Long hours, 7 day work weeks and an unfortunate amount of frustration over stupid things like envelope shortages and delivery delays. No matter how much you prepare or overstock, it's NEVER enough. It's made a little bit better because I have a serious love affair with the month of December. My tree is a point of pride in my apartment, I get giddy over addressing Christmas cards and look forward to hours spent wrapping gifts. Owning a shop has changed a lot of things and now I enjoy the holidays for different reasons. The best days are those spent in the shop helping customers pick out gifts while my favorite holiday playlist is on and the window is glowing with lights. It's really fun, and makes all of the rough days spent solving shipping problems and inventory crises a hell of a lot better.
When I first moved to New York I loved spending a whole day shopping uptown for all of my gifts. My cousins were young, so there was always a trip to FAO Schwartz (RIP) and the American Girl Store, where I had my first ever argument with my boyfriend over the fact that he kept picking up the wrong doll puppy. These days, I don't have a full day to spare and when there is time, I'd rather spend it in my living room with a candle lit and a Christmas classic on TV. To be fair--the things on my list this year weren't really small business purchases, anyway--a Nintendo Classic, a Taj Mahal Lego set, multiple Instax cameras and a Traveller's Notebook (purchased from our friends at Jetpens), but I just can't help but feel a little guilty. Maybe it's an off year anyway--I'm not even putting up the Christmas tree this year because I have two very very newly adopted cat brothers in the house (Woody and Buzz, they're crazy teenagers).
That said, I am relieved to know that there are 11 other months out of the year during which the majority of my shopping will be done locally and small, and more Christmas trees in my future.
Pictured: The holiday projects currently living on my dining table