Archive for November 28, 2013

What Do You Have to Be Thankful For in 2013?

Today means different things to different people. For many, it is a reminder of Native American hospitality that was repaid with genocide. Ironically, it is also Native American Heritage Month. For others (I’d dare say most), it’s the day that precedes Black Friday and the advent of the commercialism we have grown to associate with the Christmas holidays.

During this time I usually go into myself, becoming introspective. I reflect on what I have and what I have to be thankful for. [Yeah, I do this every day, but I tend to do more of it on this day]. Last year, I wrote my list of thanks. When I reviewed it, I found that it was pretty much the same. Here goes:

I am thankful that:

  1. I woke up this morning and have another day to realize my potential
  2. I am of sound mind
  3. I am in relatively good health
  4. I have a roof over my head and a safe and warm environment in which to dwell
  5. Unlike my mother, who lost hers when she was just two years old, I got a chance to know mine before she passed to the spirit world
  6. I can hear and appreciate music
  7. In spite of slavery, oppression, discrimination, and obstacles at every turn, my ancestors survived and made it possible for me to be here
  8. Though the population of Native peoples in North America has been greatly diminished, they also survived and their presence is a constant reminder of their greatness
  9. I can share this with you.

Regardless of how you choose to utilize this day, have a good and peaceful one.

What does today mean to you? How are you celebrating? What are you thankful for? If you made a list, is it different than last year’s? Comment and let me know.

Three Reasons to Buy Local and Shop Small During the Holidays

As we enter the season of buying and giving, you have the choice to shop at big box stores or to support small businesses and local shops. Here is why buying local and supporting small businesses matters:

  1. Small businesses have always been and continue to be the the backbone of our economy. Supporting small businesses supports us all.
  2. Schumacher had it right: Small is Beautiful. And people (that’s you and me) should be at the center of economics.
  3. Shopping local helps reduce our carbon footprint which is a smart consumer choice and is better for the environment.

For my part, I’m participating in Shop Local Week 2013, a partnership between Think Local First DC and Causetown to promote independently owned, community businesses as the preferred option for holiday shoppers. During the week, businesses like mine will feature a number of promotions, notably the Charity Cash Mob, where we will give a portion of purchases to any school or charity customers choose when they mention Shop Local Week.

RAM Jewelry Designs is Participating in Shop Small Saturday

RAM Jewelry Designs is Participating in Shop Small Saturday

Shift Your Shopping

RAM Jewelry Designs contributes to charity via Causetown

RAM Jewelry Designs contributes to charity via Causetown

What are you doing to buy local and shop small this holiday season? Please comment below and let me know.

Alternative Giving for the Holidays

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or something else, the season of gift-giving is upon us. If you’re socially conscious, are fed up with the commercialism of the season, or just want to explore alternative gift-giving, here are some of my favorite causes that you can use for inspiration.

  • Heifer International provides livestock and training to people in developing communities so that they can feed themselves. They have a special gift-giving brochure to help gift-givers with ideas during the holiday season.
  • Women for Women International provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency.
  • Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) provides emergency medical care to millions of people caught in crises in more than 60 countries around the world.

In addition to the international agencies mentioned above, there are also a number of local causes worth giving to – either for yourself or on behalf of others as a gift:

  • Central Union Mission provides food, clothing and shelter to the homeless in the DC area. They run a Thanksgiving Food Drive and are in need of different types of donations. For a full list, .
  • The House of Ruth helps women, children and families in greatest need with an emphasis on ending homelessness and chronic abuse.
  • Outreach International has an online catalog of sustainable gifts in a variety of categories and price points to satisfy the fashion-conscious as well as the socially-conscious. The organization’s mission is to provide sustainable solutions to help end extreme poverty around the world.

If you are so-inclined to give gifts for the holiday or are looking for a gift that keeps on giving, you have plenty to choose from. What are you giving for the holidays? Comment below and let me know.

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