On my first winter break from university, I discovered the true meaning of Christmas. I loved looking at trinkets and lights while sipping vin chaud at French Christmas markets, but it wasn’t until I got home that it really felt like the holidays. Because what makes Christmas in America? Cold hard capitalism. Throngs of people packed inside a three-story shopping mall with oversized tree ornaments while carols sung by dead men are piped into their subconscious. The feeling that anything is possible (at a heavily discounted price). And every American knows the holiday bonanza celebrating our lord and savior consumerism inc starts on Black Friday, when people camp out at Wal-Mart in the cold and maim each other for Elmos.
Well, I am who I am. When it comes to holidays, nurture wins. I could have been wrestling moose and dog-sledding, but fate had other ideas. You don’t get to pick what warms your heart. But you do get to pick some things. Like boycotting companies that do business with Trump. Or not supporting corporations that would throw you under a bus for a profit in general.* And flinging your money instead at businesses that support marginalized communities.
I realized I barely knew any such businesses, so I asked around and did some digging. This list is by no means comprehensive. Not even a little bit. But it’s a start, and I think the following are all worthy of patronage.* It’s like, if you’re gonna drink anyway, don’t drink the shit that dissolves your innards on a Sherman’s march through your body. If you’re gonna shop anyway, don’t enable the consumerist complex that will disregard your humanity in the pursuit of profits.
It’s a quarterly box of comics curated by Zainab Akhtar (Comics & Cola) and Clark Burscough (Thought Bubble). They’re currently taking preorders for ShortBox #3. The artist line-up: Bianca Bagnarelli, Nuria Tamarit, K.L. Ricks, Seekan Hui, Molly Mendoza, Sophie Franz, and Eleanor Davis. Are these boxes themed, you ask? Yes and the theme is quality. Me too, ShortBox, me too.
PLUS 10% of proceeds from this box will go to Standing Rock.
A recommendation from a friend, this shop offers t-shirts, jackets, and pins, including a Fuck Trump shirt. It’s censored in the photograph, but arrives at your house in its full four-lettered glory. Simple but effective.
When it comes to sticking it to corporations, you’ve gotta put Tuesday Bassen on the list (Zara stole her designs and she made Shop Art Theft in response). Her patches, shirts, and bags either have a wickedly irreverent image on them or are named some sort of pun and that in itself is almost worth the purchase. I was also pleasantly surprised by the fact that the “take a stab patches” come in varying skin tones. We should demand this of more than our emoji.
Vegan bath bombs and salts by Kayla Phillips, writer and hardcore/punk/metal musician, that help soothe aches and pains. They’re so colorful and cute I’d be reluctant to actually use them. There’s a blood red bubble bath mixture and some gravestone-shaped bath bombs. If you’re not in the mood for spoops there’s also a bath bomb called the Violet Beauregard and it looks exactly like what you think it looks like.
Somehow, RooCharms makes microphages adorable? Her shop is full of cute designs, ranging from bacteria (…yes) to corgi Disney princesses. My ears aren’t pierced (at this point it’s almost more rebellious not to pierce them) but if they were I’d be wearing the red panda ones so my coworkers could ask me about them and I’d tell them about the video of the red panda getting scared by a zookeeper and falling over. Anything to bring up this video in conversation.
For a way more comprehensive list, Quirky, Brown Love has a great roundup of black-owned businesses. In the meantime, what are some of your favorite shops? As someone trying to wean myself off box stores/fast fashion, all recommendations are welcome.
*Corporate Law 101: corporations are constructsssssssssss all it takes is two dudes to be like yo let us incorporate they don’t even have to be where they actually are just wherever the law is friendliest to them which tends to be Delaware this is a simplification but you know what the qr code on my diploma is a simplification it’s not even on par with a crop circle
*Disclaimer: I didn’t get asked to say any of this, I just got halfway through writing this post before realizing that I didn’t have to write a gushing paragraph per business. Then I realized that would help to disguise how short this list is and carried on.