It is hard to ignore that Christmas is coming.
I love Christmas – those that know me know that Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year. I love EVERYTHING goes with Christmas. I love the glitz, sparkle, and absolute magic of fairy lights. I LOVE Nutcrackers and Fairies. I’m always the first to put my decorations and lights up, and always make those noises usually reserved for seeing an extra small kitten dressed in an elf outfit after placing every bauble on the tree. I delight in the memories that every decoration has for me. And I remember when and where I bought every, single decoration from. Oh, and I POSITIVELY LOVE mulled wine, mulled cider, in fact I’d give any kind of mull a bash.
But with Christmas well and truly coming, as a new small business who hasn’t worked on Christmas before, I do not have the usual kind of spring in my step, or sparkle in my eyes. Instead, I am sort of dreading it. It’s more of a Game of Thrones “Winter is coming” feeling, which is decidedly less joyful.
Where I’m usually planning a tour of Christmas lights and windows I’m taking the family to look at, instead I find myself worrying about stock running out. Instead of making mince pies, and getting ahead on gift buying, I’m worrying whether I’ll get any orders at all, and whether we can even afford gifts this year.
It’s my first Christmas running my own business, and not having any other form of income makes it even scarier. Yet when anyone asks how it is going, I default into “Oh yes, very well!”. I’m not sure if it’s them I want to convince, or myself.
Why do we find it so hard to say we are worried, or scared? Being a normal person is essentially what makes us little businesses stand out against the big online shops and department stores. The way we can connect and empathise with each and every one of our customers does make us different, in a really good way. So why should I be worried that one of my customers knows that I am scared of not selling anything, when the customer is just like me, or one of my friends or family?
So, I am speaking out, and saying I am a bit scared of Christmas now. I am also excited, and nervous, and terrified and elated all rolled into one.
One way I’m going to address this is by talking about it (tick), in the hope that others can feel they can also speak out, and hopefully offer me and others some wise words and virtual hugs. Another is by pledging my commitment to this brilliant campaign started by Holly Tucker and her lovely company Holly & Co… Campaign Shop Small.
They have always championed the small independent businesses (the Holly & Co Work/Shop were the first shop to ask if they could sell my prints), and have now created the #campaignshopsmall to try and unite us little people into an Independent Army, amplifying our tiny voices, and getting us to all sing the same March Melody… that shopping small and local this Christmas can not only mean that you get some pretty awesome and unique gifts, it could mean the difference to what a family just like mine could afford this Christmas. It could also mean that hundreds of people in their workshops and home offices do a really rather inappropriate 90’s running man style dance all at the same time because someone has bought one of their products.
It could spread the love and Christmas joy far wider than you think.
So this Christmas shopping season, why not pledge to do at least some of your shopping with a small, local or independent business. I’m going to start by sharing Facebook and Instagram posts of other businesses and local selling markets and craft fairs, so please let me know if you have something to share!
Together, we really can face this scary, wonderful Christmas time, and help spread some Christmas Cheer, rather than Christmas Fear.