An (Almost) Amazon-Free Christmas
In case you haven't heard, we have a big family with like, a lot of kids. The year we discovered Amazon Prime it was a revelatory, choirs of angels, Bills-breaking-the-playoff-drought kind of joy. I had spent enough of my life working retail to know that the last place I wanted to be in December was in a crowded store. Amazon was so cheap and convenient, it almost felt like cheating. We could send digital wish lists to the aunts and uncles, and if we forgot an entire kid until 2 days before Christmas (we would never!), no big deal -- free 2-day shipping.
For a family of 7, convenience was of the utmost importance. Until suddenly this year it wasn't. Like many of us, this has been a year of shuffling priorities. For the first time since becoming parents, we had an abundance of the one thing we never seemed to have enough of: Time.
Something about living in a tiny Adirondack town in the middle of a pandemic gave us a new appreciation for our community. We have taken full advantage this year of the lake, the hiking trails, and the pokey village. It's pretty great that our kids can run around the pond for gym class and hunt for a dozen different types of mosses and lichens for science (or art!). We can't rush around if we have nowhere to go. As a family, we have slowed waaaay down this year, and so it only seemed natural to slow down for the holidays as well.
So this year we decided to skip Amazon altogether and do as much shopping as we possibly can right in our own community. It has (almost) nothing to do with the fact that Amazon also kind of sucks this year… We ordered things from other big box stores for a bit, but it started to feel kind of sad that ordering from Walmart instead of Amazon felt like "helping out the little guy."
I just don't want to give any more money to billionaires. I think maybe they have enough. I'd much rather spend our money in the businesses owned by the people that I grew up with. At first it seemed a little improbable that we'd be able to find everything we needed here, but it turned out to be a lot easier than we thought. And it feels really really good.
We found our matching pajamas (yeah, we're one of those families) at the 5 & 10, our annual Christmas ornament at the Flower Barn, pies from JF Farm Store, and treats for the furrier family members at Sacandaga Dog Supply. Did you know that Sacandaga Outdoor Equipment on Rt 30 has amazing boots, outdoor gear, and some pretty sweet Redwing slippers that definitely don't count as a Christmas present? There are dozens of other amazing businesses here, each with its own unique offerings. And yeah, we did have to venture out a little further for some of the bigger presents (which shall remain nameless for now), but we still managed to stay almost entirely within Fulton County. I'm pretty proud of that.
We have a pretty remarkable community. We are tough and talented and kind. I'm grateful and proud to be a part of it.
Who knows what next year will bring. We may be right back to the chaos and panic that normally comes with the holidays. My guess is, though, that we're going to hold on to this feeling for a little bit longer, and take the time to slow down and enjoy the gifts that this community offers.