Amazon claims to have earned approximately $87 billion last Christmas season in the final quarter of the year. The user-friendly interface, seamless payment integration, and rapid shipping output make it easy to see Amazon’s appeal to shoppers, yet many are choosing to boycott the corporation and shop locally this year.
Amazon exploits workers worldwide, including in warehouses in England. In China, it was discovered that factory workers were not provided with proper safety equipment and were subject to abuse from supervisors.
Amazon is not green, and it is one of the biggest contributors to packaging waste. In total, online stores use $20 billion in cardboard per year.
Amazon is greedy, and is benefiting from billions in American Taxpayer money, yet contributed only $162 million in federal income tax. Even though we are Canadian, we should remain conscious of the economic practices of the world’s biggest companies, whose commodity production influences labour practices and economic health worldwide.
Amazon is a threat to small businesses. As long as the money circulates back to large companies like Amazon, it is not circling in communities. When you choose to use Amazon for your purchases, you are the flow of money heading in Amazon’s direction. The convenience of Amazon’s shopping service has led to more customers shopping online, and fewer customers for locally-run businesses.
Fredericton is home to a dynamic art scene. The walls of downtown restaurants are covered in paintings, and craft stores and farmer’s markets are filled with fine craft and jewellery.
Gallery on Queen is home to some of the most beautiful and thought-provoking art that Fredericton has to offer, and they are committed to supporting emerging artists. Gallery 78 also features many notable Fredericton artists with a wide range of prices on pottery, painting, and more.
To find fine crafts, check out Botanicals, a downtown location that is filled to the brim with local pottery, jewellery, metal arts, and more. Additionally, Artful Persuasion and Whimsy feature locally made soaps, gifts, and boutique items.
This year, many emerging artists are struggling financially, with many relying on Christmas sales to keep their small businesses afloat. By supporting them directly, rather than through a shop, the artist gets a larger portion of the profit.
This year, the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design is adapting their annual Christmas Craft Sale to a virtual format. This sale, featuring local fine crafts from emerging artists, launches on November 27 and runs until December 1.
Considering the impact that holiday consumerism has on the environment, labour conditions, and wealth inequality, it may be that the best thing to do this holiday season is to just not do it at all. Even when shopping locally, the majority of items purchased contribute to the exploitation of workers, the environment, and local economies.
This year’s abundant lockdowns, shut-ins, shutdowns, and breakdowns have proved that human connection is essential for us to thrive.
Fredericton is home to many unique, quirky shops that can cater to all your holiday shopping needs. The Brunswickan has compiled a list of local shops to fill all your shopping needs this holiday season.
For Toys and Games:
Endeavours and Thinkplay [Ideal Gifts for Artists]
412 Queen Street
Endeavours Art is surely familiar to any local creatives. Its small space is filled to the brim with supplies for painting, sketching, and crafts. Thinkplay, located in the back of the store, focuses on games and toys, for kids and adults alike. Whether you have a family member that needs a new sketchbook, or you want to get someone a new expansion for Settlers of Catan, make sure to stop into Endeavours and Thinkplay. They are offering Black-Friday-Month sales in the lead up to the holiday season.
Honourable Mention: Strange Adventures
Urban Threadz [Ideal Gifts for Trendy Dressers]
103 Church Street
Urban Threadz is a local clothing and fashion store specializing in feminine clothing, and offering gifts such as spa gifts, jewellery, shoes, and more. They are offering many specials and events in the coming weeks, so check out their Facebook page for the latest offers.
Bellwether [Ideal Gifts for Lovers of Oddities and Arts]
384 Queen Street
Specializing in items with a vintage aesthetic, Bellwether is a consignment shop offering clothing, art, and jewellery. The shop offers a colourful collage of handmade and local products. Pick up cute calendars, cards, and nick-nacks to stuff stockings this year.
Honorable Mention: Eloise
For Home Décor and Kitchen Things
Room2Remember [Ideal Gifts for Bakers and Chefs]
100 York Street
Room2Remember is filled with useful kitchen tools, bakeware, and tons of home decoration items and small appliances. They offer a wide price range, so you can find small stocking stuffers of kitchen goodies or purchase someone that espresso machine they’ve been dying to get.
Honourable Mention: Urban Almanac