How can you think local this season?

BC Buy Local Week runs from Nov. 28 – Dec. 4, 2022, to encourage folk to keep their money local, as much as possible.

I’m not going to go on an anti-Bezos rant — my 9 year old already makes off-colour remarks about billionaires with a penchant for rockets shaped like phalluses (if only i had actually used the word phallus) after absorbing my tirades (he’s never not listening… I really should have worked that out by now.)

But I would like to share two stories about Santa magic (that might spoil my household’s surprises, if they read this blog as avidly as they listen to me when I wish they weren’t listening) but I can probably assume it is safe to share with you, dear readers.

My official stance about Santa magic is that it is a thing that exists in the world, that requires us to use our hands and our feet to bring it to life. It’s most familiar face or name is that jolly old fellow in the red suit. But that’s just one way we know Santa magic by. A caricature. Kind of a shorthand. It helps us have a relationship with something a little more abstract and mysterious to put a face on it.

(At least, that is the party line that I rapidly developed when confronted with one of those life threshold moments of young person saying, “look, I need you to tell me the truth about this story that I’ve heard some people doubt.”)

I have recently found Santa magic to be ALIVE AND WELL in this community, in this very particular location, thanks to very specific humans who 1. randomly offered to pick something up for me that they’ll know my husband wants/needs and to the incredible people at Pemberton Valley Dental who 2. responded to a non-medical emergency help email after child’s toy from his teeth-cleaning experience was eaten by the cat.

I scrolled through the Santa PAWS portraits, and it was alive and well there. I watched people put their hands up to take on a hamper or Christmas stocking for a local family or senior, in response to Loralee’s Facebook post. Alive and well. I saw someone’s Community Forum message about struggling with groceries while crossing the road, and a young person offering to carry them, to hold the door open, to help. Some wizard set up a Toys exchange page so that people can easily source lightly-used toys for their kids this Christmas.

No matter how much money we move through the internet ether, frictionlessly, into Mr Bezos’ hands, we will never be in relationship with him.

But every day, in so many ways, there are opportunities for us to be in relationship with the people who are around us, who share this watershed, these postcodes, this community. Dropping our money here is one way of investing in those relationships. So is leaving a toy or PJs at the donation box for Ty and Tia’s drive, or making a donation to the Food Bank, or offering to pick something up for a neighbour when you’re down in the city or in Squamish. Gathering around a fire pit and enjoying baked goods at the Birken House Bakery Christmas, or checking out the Christmas Craft Fair. There are lots of ways, so find one that meets you where you are at, with the capacity you have.

My favourite local therapist once said, “what is it that you want to strengthen?” We were talking about parenting strategies… but I find myself returning to it over and over again. Yes, it’s a time of year we find ourselves submitting to the pressure to buy stuff – gifts, food, decorations, the works… When you participate in this, if you do, what is it that you want to strengthen? I like the idea of coming back to “relationships.” And Santa magic. Which, in a way, are kind of the same thing.

Photo by Kelly Cosgrove, for PAWS.

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