I've taken a Halloween approach (thus far) that is almost entirely of a free-for-all. As in: Go trick-or-treating, have fun, eat candy, keep it in your room, go wild... and usually by two weeks in, it's all gone, forgotten, or lost its lustre. This week, though, our three kids brought over 1200 candies & chips back into our house (!!!). It was, to understate things... a bit much.
When you find yourself with an abundance of junk food, the idea of throwing it away feels inconceivable (at least for me). Maybe it is that candy is non-perishable, and there is a sense that throwing something edible in the garbage is abhorrently wasteful?
But, the truth is: we waste things all the time! Pumpkins, grown like any other edible crop, are mostly thrown away after October 31, uneaten. I lose track of produce sometimes and a mouldy eggplant or slimy half-full bag of spinach goes right into the bin (or compost).
With all due respect to the corn (syrup) farmers & candy manufacturers, why do I feel more uncomfortable throwing away a bowl full of mini Mars bars than I do when I rinse a tub of best-intentioned yogurt down the drain?
It reminds me of an anecdote that Chris Guillebeau recounts of locking his keys in his car right before an event at which he was speaking. The locksmith spent less than 5 minutes unlocking the car, and charged him $75. Chris found himself thinking that his instinct was to want the process to take longer, to feel like the cost was a better value! Though, of course, it was actually to his advantage — more valuable — that the locksmith was speedy in his work.
I find myself thinking that I don't want the candy to "go to waste"... I want a good use for it. But isn't it actually more unhelpful to my goals (for myself & my family) of physical health, steady emotions,and restful sleep, if I make sure it is eaten & enjoyed, just so it doesn't "go to waste"?
This year, I unabashedly threw away the gross-looking & weird candies. Then, I paid cash money to my kids to trade me 100 pieces each of their loot. It's now sitting in a bag in my office, and I feel conflicted about what to do next.
No waste is good, and the best scenario would be if I wasn't in this place of excess in the first place! But BE THAT AS IT MAY, here I am and there it is.
Yes, I can give it to different places and charities etc. but is more candy the answer for them, anyway? I feel like candy is everywhere and barely a treat anymore. Is anyone suffering by my wastefulness, or is it actually all gain?
Update: A local friend told me that there is an organization that collects candy for kids that are stuck in the hospital for their birthdays and other holidays (as part of a treat bag). I'm still not convinced that more candy is the answer, but I think that of anyone, I can trust pediatric healthcare professionals to make good choices about candy distribution! For now, this seems like a good option. 👋bag of 300 "fun" bars!
Dignify’s origin story has long been included, in brief, on our about page, and I refer to it whenever I’ve done interviews or podcasts or if I meet someone in person who inevitably asks, how did you get into this?
I'd like to share a bit of a wider panorama of the story, and an update. I have heard some tremendous stories from customers about the meaning that their blanket has had in some aspect of their life or a relationship. I'm so inspired, I would like to share more of mine, too. The story of dignify is very intertwined with my friend, Kathy.
A little behind-the-scenes insight here...
As a store owner, there are loads of resources out in the wilds of the internet, ostensibly to help me succeed in my business. Did you know that I start hearing about Black Friday (as in "are you prepared to break through on Black Friday?") in the summer?
It is SO EASY to find ourselves as consumers in the maelstrom of other people's (and corporations') marketing efforts, and not even remember how we got there, or even notice these (very intentional) forces working away on us.
Here are some actions we can take now to simplify the noise before the noisiest time of the shopping year: —
I shared on Instagram recently a post that Gretchen Rubin had written (taking concepts from her book, The Happiness Project), entitled,
I've written a lot over the years about spending wisely, thoughtfully, holding back, slowing down, and really considering, "Do I want to spend money on this [insert item, service, etc. here]?" I still think that this line of thinking is crucial — a necessary counter to the bombardment of our culture towards buy-buy-buy.
But, Gretchen was tackling the question from a different angle: yes, being thoughtful; but, actually with a focus on the positives of actually spending the money.