In our quest for finding out what makes the Market Day crew tick, I’ve been interviewing everyone about their holiday gift-giving tactics. Scott was all about the gift of homemade, alcoholic infusions, and Dani shared her homemade gifts throughout the years. This week, I caught up with Cat Rocketship to talk about sourcing her holiday gifts locally and why it’s important to her. Without further ado, I’ll let her explain!
Hey Cat! How are you? I hear you’ve got quite the penchant for shopping local (well, obviously — and we’re glad for that). What are your favorite local gifts to give?
Art is always a favorite gift. We've usually purchased from artists — either at Market Day or by hitting up our maker friends before Christmas to see what they have available.
My favorite secret tool in buying gifts locally has been the Heart of Iowa store in Valley Junction. They have a wide variety of goods: Food! Beauty! Decor! Clothes! All from Iowa makers. It's a useful place to shop for anyone we are feeling a little stumped on.
Interesting — will have to check it out! Are you buying local again this year? Can you divulge anything yet about your shopping adventures?
Yes! We haven't started planning yet, other than setting a SmartyPig savings goal. I think we would like to try making something again — planning and making the liquor was very fun last year. I am thinking of a jointly-designed poster or something, but we'll see how our discussions go.
Cool. Cool. So here’s the big question: Why shop local for gifts? Aside from the obvious awesomeness, what do you like about it?
Holiday gifting has become more of a "together" activity between Scott and me. We plan the gifts together, we visit stores together, we deliver gifts together.
Plus, the Rocketships are a frugal family. We used to cringe about the money we spent each December — even though we love our kith and kin, we didn't feel like we were giving meaningful gifts. I think we felt more like we were spending money because it was the social expectation, and it seemed wasteful instead of loving.
So we started setting a budget and committed to buying locally, and we immediately began feeling more in control of our giving. Creativity loves restraints, right?
Nice! That’s a lovely way to look at it. Do you tell people that your gifts are locally sourced?
I don't think we tell anyone specifically. But we live our lives pretty openly on the Internet, so most giftees probably see some of our gifting preparation tweets. Several people have mentioned it, seeming to want to set a similar goal — and some share that they have also been limiting themselves to local shopping only!
Inspiring! So I assume you’ll continue to buy local for holiday gifts then?
YES, we will continue! I believe this is our fourth year of local shopping, and we've only seen positives. It's fun, it's satisfying, and it makes gifting a team effort. I don't think we've seen ANY downsides.
Here’s one to chew on. What do you consider local? If you were buying a special gift for someone in Omaha that you could only get in Omaha, would you do it? Even if it's not Des Moines local?
GOOD QUESTION! Well, Hobby Lobby is a no, for example, even though we'd be spending money in town. The spirit of the law is to support small business — we think each dollar we spend is a vote for the kind of world we want, and we use that mindset to weigh where we buy gifts. But while there have been a few outlying purchases over the years (we bought something from the MAKEzine shop online, once) the overwhelming majority of our gifting needs have been fulfilled by DSM small businesses.
What else do you want to tell Market Day-ers about your quest to buy local?
Shopping local is easier than people might think, and it's totally a gateway drug into ditching chain stores all year round.
Thanks Cat! Best of luck in your shopping pursuits!
Stay tuned for more interviews with Market Day staff and vendors — and be sure to visit the Black Friday Facebook event to get all the details of the biggest local shopping extravaganza in Des Moines. Nov. 23 — it’s almost here!