Sunday, November 19, 2006

To the fair

Today, we have been to the Christmas fair which is held every year in a local manor house. It is no longer a manor house but a nature study centre. Each year, local people get together to organise a Christmas Fair in which locals can buy from locals. To get there, you need to drive down a single muddy track and park in a field. You pay an entrance fee and walk around rooms and rooms full of crafts people showing off what they have made during the year. Everything from beaded dog collars, fairy plant pots, decorations, knitted gloves, plants, soaps, art, cheese, bags. It also includes a refreshment tent where everything is home cooked and people flock to shop that way. It is a good way to display your wares and it is great for us to find out who does what. I bought my Christmas pudding there from ‘ Plum Duff’( lovely name) and received a handmade wooden advent calendar, which will be perpetual. Received, did they give it away? No hush, it’s my birthday soon and every year I buy myself a treat there. This is a Christmas tree with 24 drawers in it so the Christmas Fairy ( shhhh....) can fill it with goodies for those in the household. No more chocolate, plastic advent calendars. Instead, the Christmas Fairy is going to have to put her eco friendy thinking cap on and come up with some fresh ideas. Not only is it a buy local exercise, they also give away 50% of the proceeds to a local charity. The one they chose this year is the playbus which takes play opportunities to children in small villages in the area where there is no other provision. One little tip though, I leave my cheque book at home, they only deal in cash and I take as much as I want to spend. When its gone....its gone and I go home. Seems old fashioned but it does mean you need to look around, use maths in your head to figure out what you are going to buy, go around again. Spending money, actual cash money, is entirely different than writing a cheque or putting the card in the machine. You actually have to count it out and hand it over and somehow it makes you more careful with it. Somehow I prefer this type of shopping, parting with cash hurts a little more that way.
I support this fair because it ticks many of the boxes:
❑ buy local
❑ local crafts people
❑ engage in community events
❑ share profits to charitable causes
Why not seek out the same in your area, a farmers market, a country market and see what you can find.
I also forgot to tell you that they have an evening event so you can go exclusive shopping by candlelight if you want but it costs double and is usually a freezing get a glass of mulled wine while you shop. You don’t get that at your local mall.

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