Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Reluctant Consumer's Gift Guide

I'll do my best to keep my complicated feelings about consumerism, commercialism, and Christmas in general brief, as I have positively exhausted my emotional output on this over the past seven consecutive Christmases.

Here's the skinny version: my family lives on a squeaky-tight budget (I know many of you are right here with us!) and we also happen to live pressed up against tremendous lack, in a low-income neighborhood with a church family and personal friend group that largely consists of people struggling through the sort of poverty that makes my daily bread look like the pricey, chocolate-laced brioche from Aldi that my kids ask for every time and that I secretly want, too, except FOUR DOLLARS? Gasp.

As an Enneagram 8 poster-child, I naturally bristle a little (a lot?) against anything that smacks of status quo, so as you can imagine, Christmas in my presence is the recipe for true joy, as long as you get a jolly kick out of the neighborhood cynic. (I have learned to turn down the volume on my inner challenger, but she's still kicking around with a megaphone in my heart.)

Christmas is supposed to mean something, we all know this in theory. But I believe we can find ways to make it more meaningful in practice, too. We can choose to quell the machine that threatens to pull us into an undertow of debt and empty emotional calories. We can learn as we go when it comes to finding ways to realign our focus. (I'll be re-launching my 12 Ways of Christmas series in a week or so, so stay tuned!)

We can embody the belief that Christmas is about God choosing to leave paradise so that His kingdom could arrive here on Earth, igniting the renewal of All Things. This is a very big deal. Because if He chose pain, loss, and longing, then we can, too. We were made to feel a wide range of emotions, to walk toward the suffering around us, and to make our home there with Jesus as our guide, holding the lantern as we move through the darkness.

But also? MAMA HAS GIFTS TO BUY.

The Martins keep Christmas buying simple, but I enjoy it, even as I side-eye the pressure and the hullabaloo, as my mom would say. I like surprising my people and having a reason to buy them things they don't necessarily "need" from places other than Goodwill.

For this reason, I put together a low-brow guide with links to my personal favorites. I want you to know that I artfully arranged my personal effects onto a large poster board on my living room floor, then painstakingly over-layed it with numbers because I am fancy in the ways of technology and it wasn't hard at all (that is a total lie) so FEEL THIS LOVE!

Each item on the list is part of my regular life, some items more than they realistically should be (cough cough I wear the same shirt for days in a row sometimes.) Many are also sourced from companies operating around the central ideal of bringing justice to marginalized communities.
His kingdom. Here on Earth.

Merry, heartbreaking Christmas, pals.
I hope you get something that you want.
And I hope you never stop longing, not for a moment.


{You might be interested in the conversation I was a part of on The Upside Down Podcast - episode 47 Consumerism and God's Kingdom.}




1 - Love Anyway sweatshirt from Preemptive Love Coalition - This is my absolute go-to. (They have a lot of really cool styles!)

2 - Denim Western shirt from ABLE I love the mission (and style!) of ABLE. Get 20% off with SHANNAN20

3 - Giving Keys necklace - each purchase supports employment opportunities for people coming out of homelessness. Keys are customizable. (Mine was a gift from a friend and says LONG HAUL.)

4 - Audrey Assad "Evergreen" cd - This is on heavy repeat. I cannot get over her lyrics.

5 - Flex "Veterans Mini" watch  10% of every purchase supports a specific cause aimed at making the world better. (Free shipping on every watch anywhere in the US.)

6 - Canvas HQ canvas (photo pulled from my Instagram feed) - I love the customer service and quality of this family-owned canvas shop. My friend surprised me with this canvas from my trip to Ecuador. Such a thoughtful, personal, affordable gift!

7 - Vintage hanky - because crying is cuter with one of these in hand.

8 - Mud Love bracelets (Shannan Martin Project includes "Neighbor" "Long Haul" and "Wider Circle")

9 - Good candle - This is a favorite and so is this.

10 - Constellation Moon earrings hand-crafted from polymer clay from Breath of Life Essentials (I absolutely love all of her unique earrings, but the name and composition of these have my whole heart! DM her on Instagram to order.)

11 - Dixie stud earrings from Starfish Project (These are my everyday earrings. I recently lost one and I'm not over it yet.) Get 20% off any of their earrings using the code SHANNANANDSTARFISH

12 - Dark Chocolate Butter Kek cookies from Aldi (TRUST ME)

13 - The Ministry of Ordinary Places - (I'll be starting an online book club in January! Stay tuned.)

14 - Tea! Current favorites: Tazo Green Ginger and Good Earth Sweet & Spicy

15 - I'm a gigantic fan of gifting vintage and thrifted items. My book and a vintage mug make an excellent combo.

16 - Mighty River Project basket - this organization employs women in Uganda so that they can care for their families. Orphan prevention for the win! (We use ours as a fruit basket.)

17 - Vintage bake ware - start trolling Goodwill and your local shops for tins, utensils, and tea towels. Pair them with some high-brow vanilla, whole beans, or good chocolate.


Other favorites:
Books! Always and forever books. Here's what I'm reading right now.
Church Forsaken by Jonathan Brooks
Executing Grace by Shane Claiborne
You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart
The Caregiver by Samuel Park


Calvin's picks:
Concert Eukulele
The Mysterious Benedict Society series


Ruby's picks:
Mixed-media art set
The Sprinkles Baking Book


Si's picks:
Snap Circuits
This lamp


Cory's pics:
Polaroid camera with this film.
This watch (In his effusive style, he says, "solar powered, so never needs a battery change, water resistant to 100 meters, great everyday watch.")



One last thing - I'll be signing books over at the Belove Gift Shop in Winona Lake, Indiana on Wednesday, December 5th from 6-9pm. If you've never been to Winona Lake, now is the time! Excellent food and shopping. Belove curates the best collection of gift ideas, and many of them are handmade right in the local area. Come out and say hey! (If you're not in the local areas, you can also shop online.)

XO,
Shannan





4 comments:

  1. Love this! How does the sweatshirt sizing run?

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    1. I got a small and it's perfection! Even after washing. Not too small, not too bulky. (I sometimes order up to Med and am glad I didn't do that this time.)

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  2. Love your round-ups...they're always the best! Dark chocolate butter keks...yes...can you say stocking stuffer?!

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