I’m conflicted about the holidays, but not for the reasons you’d expect.
I’m not stressed out about holiday cooking and shopping; I gave most of that up years ago. I’m not anxious about holiday travel; I’m not doing that anymore either, thanks to COVID. I’m not dreading spending time with obnoxious family members. I enjoy both my biological and chosen families with whom I spend holidays.
I am conflicted about participating as a small business in the so-called holiday shopping season. At least to me, the capitalist version of this season has nothing to do with celebrating Advent and Christmas.
As a Christian, I believe this season invites us to prepare heart, mind and soul for the hope, peace, joy and love embodied by the birth of Jesus. It’s an invitation to turn inward, reflect on what has been in the past, root yourself in the present, and embrace the newness of what is to come. The frenzy of gift giving is an unnecessary distraction from this life-giving process, and that frenzy can even set us on a path that veers away from that promise of hope, peace, joy and love. That’s why I’ve largely stopped giving gifts and instead spend time in individual reflection and celebrate with extra time, rather than money, spent with the ones I love.
Owning a business has created a new ethical quandary for my counter-cultural approach to the winter holidays. Small businesses like mine struggle to get on people’s radar at all because of our limited or non-existent advertising budgets. It stands to reason that we would try to leverage the time of year that nearly everyone is shopping for something. It’s an obvious opportunity to boost our reach to new customers and sell some of our products. For the aforementioned reasons, I’ve been trying to thread an ethical needle: How do I grow business in the holiday season while also staying true to my values?
Here’s what I’ve come up with, at least for now:
I am creating a movement of well-rested, centered and grounded people, equipping them to avoid the capitalistic trappings through my restorative yoga and meditation offerings:
- Nov. 26, 1-3 p.m. EST – Breathing, Not Buying: Alternative Black Friday Restorative Yoga/Meditation
- Sundays Nov. 28-Dec. 19, 7:30-8:30 p.m. EST – Sparking Hope: Mindful Advent Yoga Series (donation class!)
- Dec. 31, 1-3 p.m. EST – Starting with Hope: New Years Eve Restorative Yoga/Meditation
Sparking Hope is the theme of my yoga offerings this season. These practices are designed to help you choose hope in what may seem like entirely bleak times. Register for all these practices on my events page.
I can even custom design a practice like these for you and your co-workers, family or friends for a restful and meaningful holiday party. Just schedule a time to chat with me about hosting a special event.
I work at making these liberating practices accessible to all people regardless of physical or financial ability. I designed and recorded reasonably priced guided meditations in my online store that you can download and carry with you anywhere. Use them anytime to get yourself grounded, calmed, centered and ready to show up as the best version of yourself. If you are still giving gifts to family or friends, these are perfect for those who keep saying they want to start a meditation practice, or have anxiety or trouble sleeping.
If you’ve started your practice and want to go deeper, I have packaged my coaching, downloads and classes into three reasonably priced memberships with both annual and monthly payment options. This is an investment in yourself (and my small business!) for not only the season, but the months and year ahead.
Speaking of pricing, I always offer my friends who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color 20% off all events, products and services by using the code BIPOC20 on all platforms. I also offer discount tickets to all my events for anyone experiencing financial hardship, and I am willing to do work swaps or other creative payment plans for my services.
I’m praying and meditating on a holiday season that aligns with my values and truly offers countercultural space to celebrate the season. What about you? I’m always happy to hear from you! Email me, or put your comment on this post or social media.
Have a reflective and hope-filled holiday!