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2020 continues to rage on, and in some not-so-good ways. In spite of that, there is still much for many of us to have gratitude about. I have been working to find some of the silver linings in this challenging year. (Look at me....being the voice of optimism! Who knew?) My employment has remained stable. I'm cooking at home more, which means I'm eating better (and saving money). My commute got much shorter (although the trek from upstairs to down is just brutal some days!), which adds time back in to my day. Some of my more casual relationships have fallen away, but the ones that are left are deeper, stronger. I have much for which to be grateful.

One thing that has become very clear to me is that I need to "put my money where my mouth is", so to speak. It means donating to organizations that do work that I think is important. It means not shopping with companies that don't share my values, even if doing so costs a little more. And this upcoming holiday season, it means shopping to support small businesses instead of lining the pockets or big corporations. Believe me when I tell you Amazon (or Target or Walmart or or or) will survive just fine without your money, but local restaurants and artisans may not. You're going to do some holiday shopping anyway, right? Let's try to do some good with it!

So buy gift certificates to local businesses and restaurants in your community to support them through this time. (And if you're ordering takeaway, tip generously! The staff at these places has taken a huge pay cut this year.) Contact an artist that whose work you love (or look for a craft show that's gone virtual, like Art on the Avenue, for a pre-curated selection of artists) and buy something a little more special, a little more one-of-a-kind. Holiday shipping deadlines are coming up fast for small businesses, so don't forget to keep that in mind.

And, in the category of gratitude, thank you. Thank you for being here, for your continued support of ArtSci designs. I can't even begin to express how much I appreciate it, but you are definitely on the list of what I am grateful for. Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving, and hoping that you have much for which to be grateful as well.

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