The shopping glut that is Christmas showed signs that cultural consumers left their mark on the season. And the following shopping behaviors made it a RenGen Christmas:
RenGenners see themselves as smart—book sales brisk.
Lines were long in book stores. Publishing houses reported an increase. Our culture scouts told us that customers stood in line cradling stacks of books to buy, not one or two. Books remain the most telling expression of the cultural consumer. It’s a gift that says, “I like ideas. I am curious about the world, and I think you are, too.”
Authenticity trumps perfection—handmade craft items popular.
Everything from knobby, hand-knit mittens to homemade bath salts were snapped up this season. As early as October, Christmas orders were being taken at farmer’s markets and in church basements for handmade items. The web facilitated the handmade trend, making retail placement a non-issue. Borrowing a page from Tupperware, craft mavens held holiday craft parties in their homes and sold to their friends.
Rengenners take their cues from the natural world—buy local a mantra.
A year of product recalls and gritty media coverage about China’s polluted water and air drove consumers into the arms of local growers and producers. There, the labels were easy to read and trust. Buy local was a major theme this year and everything from Christmas ornaments to locally-made wines were hot. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm went all out to encourage this trend in her economically beleaguered State. Beyond concerns for safety came a desire to feel a human connection. Buying artisan jams from a local farmer is similar to “fair trade coffee.” It sends a message you value community and care about the little guy.
Look for more analysis of 2007 and what to expect in 2008 next week! In the meantime, enjoy the holidays with people you love.