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69. Slow Friday: Bringing Sanity Back to the Holidays with Mary and Emma
Episode 6926th November 2021 • The Good Dirt: Sustainable Living Explained • Lady Farmer
00:00:00 00:41:20

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You're in for something a little different this Friday...it's a solo show with Mary and Emma!

At Lady Farmer, we're always thinking about ways to shift our thinking to live into a more slow and sustainable lifestyle, and today is a great opportunity to do just that. What if Black Friday became Slow Friday, and what would that look like?

Join us on this week’s episode of The Good Dirt as we share a bit about our own Christmas memories and experiences with gift-giving as well as how we're thinking about being more mindful with our consumer habits during the holiday season.

Enjoy this week's episode, let us know what you think, and we'll be back with another interview next week!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podchaser, Simplecast, Podtail, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Topics Covered:

  • The negative impacts of consumerism and how to think differently about our consumer habits
  • The importance that we have placed on gift-giving and receiving during the holiday season
  • Slow Friday Challenge

Resources:

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Original Music by John Kingsley @jkingsley1026

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Transcripts

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[00:00:20] Emma Kingsley: Yeah, exactly. So much.

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[00:00:25] Emma Kingsley: Exactly.

You're listening to The Good Dirt podcast. This is a place where we dig into the nitty gritty of sustainable living through food, fashion, and lifestyle.

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[00:00:47] Emma Kingsley: We started this podcast as a means to share the wealth of information and quality conversations that we're having in our world as we dream up and deliver ways for each of us to live into the new paradigm. One that is regenerative balanced and whole.

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[00:01:11] Emma Kingsley: So come cultivate a better world with us. We're so glad you're here now. Let's dig in.

Hello and happy Friday, good dirt listeners. This is going to be a special episode with just my mom and I here chatting. We decided to pop in and just have it be us today to kind of kick off this amazing holiday season. And this day, this really special Friday that most of us know as black Friday, but, um, we're doing something a little different here at lady farmer that my mom had a brilliant idea to called slow Friday.

And we just wanted to kind of think about that and pull things apart a little bit, and really share a bit of our own experiences with gift giving and receiving and how we've come to think of those things and thinking about them differently in our work here at lady farmer and on the good dirt.

So yeah. So thank you for being here and I guess to kick us off, Mom, I'll have you introduce what you're thinking about Slow Friday and how that idea came to you and what you'd like to share with us today?

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[00:02:27] Emma Kingsley: Hello.

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[00:02:30] Emma Kingsley: Happy, slow Friday.

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Sure. Cause it's the launch of the holiday season and it's a good day to get your gifts because really good deals. Really good deals. It's very exciting. It's fun.

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[00:03:04] Mary Kingsley: It's more than one day now, but it started out it's one day. So, you know, the theme of really black Friday is fast and cheap.

It is absolutely the pinnacle of fast and cheap consumerism focused on, on this day. And the reason being is a course. And we all know this, that holiday season is a big time for the retail industries and they make up a lot of their profits for the year. And so they want to encourage everybody to take part, you know, go for the team, go for the economy for our system. We all need to do our part to support it. Yeah.

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So I find it a lot easier to sort of peel that apart when I see it as, oh, this is a very carefully constructed and designed campaign basically to really target me. And like I'm being sort of forced, not forced, but I'm being convinced to buy things yeah. In a special way. So.

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[00:04:52] Emma Kingsley: Yeah, we don't need to talk harp on about how consumerism is bad.

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[00:05:05] Emma Kingsley: It's about the true meaning of Christmas. Just kidding.

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[00:05:42] Emma Kingsley: Yeah, exactly. So much.

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[00:05:47] Emma Kingsley: Exactly. Yeah. I think that's a great way to put it.

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[00:05:52] Emma Kingsley: So I love that because it's what you just posed made me think like, just because we want to think differently about our consumer habits and about buying things around the holidays, it doesn't mean that we have to part with. You said, love generosity, just whatever feelings that we get about gift giving and gift receiving.

And I think, again, I was joking about the true meaning of Christmas, but I do think it is important to take a moment to explore those things. Like, what does that mean? Why are those feelings good? Why does it feel so good to buy stuff? You know? Yeah. Let's like talk about that and thinking about that and hash that stuff out.

And I thought a fun thing to be would be for you and I both to kind of go back to our, each of our childhoods and think about um, what it was like to get gifts on Christmas. And then when we were old enough to give gifts. So maybe talk a little bit about that. Can you start us off?

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As a child is truly, truly special and unique and, and limited to that one day of the year. So I had all that as a child and just Christmas was so exciting and so wonderful and all the music and everything and the anticipation of the gifts. And then, you know, I was never disappointed and I woke up on Christmas morning and there was a lots of really wonderful gifts and it was so much fun.

Behind all that was, you know, surrounded by family, neighbors, friends, you know, sometime late or in the morning on Christmas or even into the afternoon know. Calling your friends and see what they got and then you would run back and forth and you look at each other's toys and it was just so great. And then there would be gatherings neighborhood gatherings in the afternoon, probably go over to one of the neighbor's house and have a party or a neighborhood meal.

Yeah, lots of times they would come to our house and we would have, um, you know, sandwiches made from the leftover Christmas dinner, which would have been the night before in our house. It would have been Christmas Eve. Yeah. So there's so many memories. And for better or worse, the gifts and the toys and stuff we got were played a pretty big part. Hate to say it.

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[00:08:27] Mary Kingsley: Yeah. I mean, I hate to say that if we woke up and there wasn't anything there and you know, my parents said, oh, oh, this is going to be all about, you know, just loving each other. We probably want to know what. You kidding me. So I don't know.

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[00:08:51] Mary Kingsley: like to realize that it's a lot.

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[00:09:06] Mary Kingsley: I think that probably didn't really make an impact on me until I was a parent.

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[00:09:16] Mary Kingsley: Yeah. So your dad and I wanted to replicate all those feelings of magic and happiness and you know, the things that you dreamed about things that you wanted. We wanted you to have that too.

And we were really aware, oh, not too much. No too much is overwhelming. And it's expensive. It's wasteful, you know, had it certainly had an awareness of all that. But I, I begin to notice that year after year, it still seemed like too much. It's still kinda got out of control and it was like, oh, this and this and this, and oh, we want, you know, oh then you want the stocking to be all stuffed and loaded with stuff.

Cause it's so much fun. It's so much fun to part you're stocking. And so you'd look for little things and, you know, so many plastic things, so much sugar, so much packaging. Yeah. And then of course the whole Christmas morning thing, you know, piles and piles and piles of. Packaging and trash. And I think every year it hit me a little more like, oh Holly, you know, what are we doing here?

I'm just, I'm playing out a script that was instilled in my emotional makeup about what Christmas should look like. Yeah. And was replicating it and didn't know how to do it different. And also here's if anything, my family, like for so many years, we would say, okay, we're going to draw names, you know, and we would draw names and, you know, you'd give the present to one person I'm talking about my siblings, like the adults.

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[00:10:43] Mary Kingsley: Right. And that worked in, it was fine. But then. Like you'd find something that was perfect for a person. You didn't draw their name. Yeah. So you'd get it anyway. And then that would mess it up. And then, you know, and then people saw you weren't supposed to do that and it gets confusing. So anyway.

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[00:11:15] Mary Kingsley: There was no less.

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[00:11:18] Mary Kingsley: Things got more expensive. Yeah.

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[00:11:25] Mary Kingsley: Do you remember the year, your oldest brother was on the rowing team and he got like an ERG. Oh yeah. A rowing machine, you know, Christmas morning is sitting there in the middle of the living room floor and ridiculous. Of course there were guitars and there were, you know, electronics.

And, you know, modern day slavery is very much tied to supply chains and electronics. Yeah. And electronics are such a part of our gift-giving. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, that has slowly dawned on me like Holly. What are we doing?

[:

Like I was just so excited about this and like, there'd be like, I feel like I would get like at least three or four, just like awesome. You know, like if it was a new, like little Barbie or something, and I could play with that all day. Obviously as a kid, you're like, heck yeah. But I think part of me was like, I can't even like, appreciate this as much.

It was probably thrilling as a parent. Cause your kid's just like so overjoyed. Yeah. But it was interesting. And I do have a really vivid memory, you know, it was always in the conversation and we were always talking about it. Like, you know, we knew how lucky we were and everyone at Christmas morning was so happy, but you know, we did do the stuff at church and we were aware that like, you know, some families, you know, don't have this and we would give.

What's that thing, operating operation, Christmas child, we do those little boxes. So, you know, it was aware of that sort of thing. And then, and then dad would always say stuff like, you know, your grandmother, when she was a kid, they would get like an orange and a peppermint stick on Christmas. Like, yeah. Like we had those stories in our heads too.

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[00:13:39] Emma Kingsley: Yeah, well, I think dad's grandma got an orange and a peppermint stick. Okay. So, yeah. Okay. Yeah. And like that's your Christmas present? And so what was that? What did happen during the depression or before?

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[00:14:02] Emma Kingsley: So that's also something that's been in the back of my head too. It's like, what would Christmas morning be like, if, and I will say in our adulthood and our adult life was the three adult kids. I feel like we have had a couple of Christmases where we're like intentionally, you know, minimal gift giving.

And it's just sort of like, okay, it's like lovely. And as adults, we don't need a bunch of stuff. And maybe it's because there aren't small children in our family yet or immediate family, but it's not like as exciting.

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[00:14:37] Emma Kingsley: I don't feel disappointed. It's just interesting. It's like, we've spent decades of hammering this excitement and anticipation means you have to have like a ton of presence.

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[00:15:14] Emma Kingsley: Yeah. I, if you have, we want to hear about it.

[:

It's just that I reached a time in my life. And then we started lady farmer and everything where I, I really want to begin, you know, living out that and not just thinking about, oh, thinks things should be better. We could do better. And like really, really doing that. So that's what we're talking, being out loud about all this.

And, you know, frankly, I, I still find the holidays a challenge, even with everything I know and all the horrors I know about the supply chains, supply chains and the, the waste, and what's in the landfills and the, you know, Chemicals and all this cheap stuff, that's bad for our health. It's bad for the kids.

It's in our clothes, just this sheer enormity of things that are unhealthy or ourselves or the planet for this soil, all these things. I now know it is still a challenge. Yeah. It's really hard. These are deep seated and patterns and traditions.

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[00:16:46] Mary Kingsley: So emotional, and like, you know, if it was just me, it would be fine, but you're involving all these other people.

[:

Yeah. We were trying to think of like a few other alternatives to just like small ways to chip away at this until like, I almost think of it as like, we're like rewiring our brains. Right. We're rewind like our, our impulses as a culture. So what are some of the like little ways.

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[00:17:31] Emma Kingsley: Yeah. Yeah. Mary Kingsley. Yeah. What are some things that you're going to be doing.

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And first of all, you know, think about that person. Just think about them, you know, think about them in an appreciative way and how I would like to let that person know that I care about them. And I'm thinking about that. I'm trying to think of something they would like. Yeah. So one idea is to actually sit down and write the personal little note or a letter or something to give them on Christmas. I'm not saying instead of a gift yeah. At all, but maybe after you did that, that would, it might feel like enough.

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[00:18:39] Mary Kingsley: You know, I would speaking from personal standpoint, that would certainly be as meaningful to me coming from someone. This is my gift to use, to, to tell you some things I appreciate or how I'll feel or you know, looking over the last year, you know, that sort of thing.

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And we actually in the Almanac right now, we've set up members with pen pals. So are we doing that? That's really fun. My pen pal lives in France.

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[00:19:35] Emma Kingsley: Have you written your pen pal letter yet?

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And here are the first three lines of the poem. The world is too much with us late and soon getting and spending. We lay waste our powers, little we see in nature that is ours. Wow. Is that amazing? And he read that like in the early 1800s. Oh my gosh. That blew me away. I like the active, just writing that poem out for her.

I thought this is so powerful. Even like, even for now, like 200 years later. Yeah. Getting and spending we lay waste our powers. So with that in mind, the getting and spending that we would do.

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[00:20:58] Mary Kingsley: And facilitating. Yeah. All that.

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[00:21:04] Mary Kingsley: And that's exactly what black Friday is really getting in spending. So instead of getting in spinning and laying waste our powers,

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[00:21:16] Mary Kingsley: So what are the powers that were laying waste? When, you know, we're giving into that urge, like that beckoning call of the marketplace to get in there and, and just get in there today and to do this. Yeah. So what powers are we laying waste?

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[00:21:42] Mary Kingsley: So you think of one, like we were talking about what are things to do and instead of hopping on and like, and buying something immediately, we're not saying don't buy this gift for your loved one. We're not saying that. We're just saying, yeah.

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[00:22:06] Mary Kingsley: That's so true. That's so true. We just have to remember though that.

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[00:22:13] Mary Kingsley: Correct. And cheap is never a bargain.

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[00:22:18] Mary Kingsley: There's always a cost somewhere. Yeah. On the planet or with some person there's always some costs to something being, being super cheap. Yeah. And just keep that in mind and we all have to make these decisions. Nobody's perfect. Nobody's a hundred percent like, you know, a hundred percent perfectly balanced consumer. I don't know how you feel. These are just things to keep in mind. So what would you do on slow Friday?

[:

What is something that you could use your power to produce? That might mean something to someone else? You know, as a gift. So you had mentioned earlier, consumable gifts are always from like a zero waste perspective, a smart one. So maybe that's speaking something, maybe it's, maybe it's something, you know, slightly more crafty, but something that the person can use, even if you can't create it yourself, always defaulting to a local artist.

Someone in your community probably can, so maybe it's researching, you know, oh, who and I community makes nice soaps or candles. And exactly those are usable consumable things. Right. So, right. And kind of go on the, in the making, you know, supporting local type realm, but also, and, and you're part of that would be the, the research and the supporting that artist. Your power is your choice of who you're going to get things from.

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[00:24:25] Emma Kingsley: Yeah. Another interesting or like alternative gift giving idea is an experience. It's an experience that you can give someone. So yes, maybe it's a, well now luckily, you know, live music is back in some areas. So maybe it's a concert or play.

I'm only thinking like theater, friends, a visit to a museum. You know, you can be so like the possibilities are endless. Like, I love a good scavenger hunt that someone makes up, you know, and you hide little. Treats or I don't know, something like, what's something that you can create. That's an experience, especially that would be a great one with young kids too. Like what's something that we can do together.

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[00:25:28] Emma Kingsley: I do want to interject with this train of thought with a memory that I have you, do you remember the love notes?

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[00:25:36] Emma Kingsley: Love notes. So was it just one year? A couple of years.

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[00:26:10] Emma Kingsley: Maybe we were like too old for it.

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[00:26:14] Emma Kingsley: Too old and too immature. I don't know.

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[00:26:21] Emma Kingsley: It's funny though. It's a good memory. It is funny and also laugh about it.

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[00:26:32] Emma Kingsley: Yeah. You know, like I'm thinking they were like backhanded. Like I love you even when you never get off the computers and stuff like that.

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[00:26:49] Emma Kingsley: So funny. Really good idea. Great in theory mom.

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[00:27:13] Emma Kingsley: Christie Johnson's embroidery class. Oh, you know, that could be also a gift giving opportunity. Anything you make with your two hands doesn't matter what it is. Is always going to be so lovely.

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[00:27:32] Emma Kingsley: That's a great gift. That's really good. Or an Almanac membership. We have gift memberships available on our website. Yes, that's the best. That's a experience. It's a lifestyle. You get to hang out with us.

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[00:28:01] Emma Kingsley: Yeah. And I guess on that note, a really wonderful thing about gift-giving and the holidays is it is an opportunity. I mean, I hit on this a little bit earlier, but it is an opportunity to support. You know, things that you do believe in and makers that you do want to support. And yes, like I just love, you know, artists and like mugs and I like things like that, that it's like, do I need another mug?

Maybe not, but do I love this artist and what they do? And do I like love using mugs and drinking coffee? I do. And so at Christmas, yeah. By a mug or by someone for someone else, or I might receive a mug that I would love to get. So let's just like a really tiny example of is possible to still, if we really do need to scratch our itch of buying things. Yeah. There's amazing options for buying things.

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[00:29:18] Emma Kingsley: And how do you tune in to use an overused word, but how do you tune in and you give authentically and from an authentic place and from really thoughtfully and from you and like that where the real like meaning is as opposed to kind of just being sold something and mindlessly cooking.

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[00:29:53] Emma Kingsley: In some places. I know we don't really have any miles around us, but.

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But now we have so many more options. It's true. And to your example, about the mug, you know, if you had a choice between like giving someone a mug that's, that's made by someone that's done it with their hands and their. Could you use a small business that could use support the arts and whatever, and comparing that to, you know, a sweater, something that's made in a sweatshop where a person is not paid a living wage and the chemical dyes are causing problems in the water.

Then, you know, if we're just going to pause them in and, and give that thought that becomes an easier choice, that becomes something. That's really not hard to recognize, you know, where, where we can do better. Yeah. And also I'll add to that. Where does gift giving become? Just checking off the boxes, you know, like you have to have something for so-and-so to open or whatever.

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[00:31:12] Mary Kingsley: Yeah. And that person you're trying to check the box. Maybe that's the person that, you know, the letter or the, you know, the jar of mustard or, you know, a loaf of banana bread or something, we'd be just really great.

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[00:31:30] Mary Kingsley: Yeah. So many things, so many choices.

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[00:32:07] Mary Kingsley: Think about the people you want to give gifts to.

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[00:32:12] Mary Kingsley: You know, send them good vibes. Yeah. And think about how you really want to express your appreciation and love for them on this day, that in our culture is supposed to be about showing people that you care for them.

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Which company was it that said don't buy anything today. Go outside.

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[00:32:34] Mary Kingsley: or REI.

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[00:32:43] Mary Kingsley: Slow Friday. So yeah, I'm not claiming to be the first to think of that. I mean, it just, I'm sure it's out there, you know, just like slow food, slow fashion, slow living as it must be out there somewhere. But I did like the way it sort of felt as I was anticipating. How to respond to this.

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It has no meaning anymore because sales happen all the time. Guests. The reason why people have sales is to get you to buy stuff there. I said it, I shattered the secret. That's the reason my people have sales is to drive revenue. So you're literally being swindled.

[:

And then it shows you Christmas day and it has pictures of the trash piling up and the things being thrown here and there, and the toys being forgotten on the. Floor and broken and so forth. And then, you know, it ends with showing the, the trash outside in big bags, just all the trash.

This book was probably written in the maybe seventies or eighties. I'm not sure. Oh, wow. And the words, just pictures and then a kid's book or just children's book Peter spear. It made a huge impression on me. And I think, you know, and then it became apparent. That was in my mind. Yeah. Very powerful.

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[00:34:51] Mary Kingsley: Yes. Unplugging the Christmas machine. Yeah. Did you read that? Yes. Yes. And yeah. And then that was all about this kind of thing. It. Wasn't just about consumerism. It was also about, you know, the pace, like when, when you guys were bringing.

There were so many activities. There were recitals, there were plays, there were, you know, class parties, there were get togethers and everybody wants to do all this stuff around the holidays. And, um, so the busy-ness and the pace and the things to do were just, you know, just really amped up and yeah.

Things like, you know, like teacher gifts and baking for the class party. Just so many things. I remember just being super overwhelming and there was even a time in there. I hate to admit it, but this is just being totally honest. I just really did not like Christmas. No.

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[00:35:50] Mary Kingsley: You remember it.

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[00:35:53] Mary Kingsley: Oh no, that's terrible. See, my mother never would have done that. And don't think it was out of hand for her.

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[00:36:04] Mary Kingsley: I think if I grew up in the sixties, you know, That's 30 years before you guys were going through all this stuff. And there was probably is more just take all that and just amplify it.

Yeah. And you know, every one of you had your activities and your performances and all those things. So unplugged the Christmas and machine was very much about that on top of the consumer isn't too. Yeah.

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[00:36:40] Mary Kingsley: Speaking of slow friday, I'd like to offer listeners a little invitation. If you want to, just for fun, offer you a slow Friday challenge. Okay. So I have a couple of ideas for this, but one of them is don't buy anything today. Okay. See how that feels. And if stuff comes up for you about that, maybe it won't maybe your person that maybe wouldn't do that anyway.

But if it does, I think it'd be interesting just to observe for yourself. Have it makes you feel what comes up, just be with it. Here's another slow Friday challenge. Think of gifts that you are in the gift giving mode, and you want to get gifts today or anytime during the season. Take the time to be thoughtful about those purchases and get gifts that are not going to be harmful to the planet or yourself, your own health or anyone else involved in the supply chain or the production of it. And there's now there there's lots of choices in that realm. So just, just give it thought.

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[00:38:13] Mary Kingsley: Yeah. So if you don't know the story behind something yeah. Then keep looking. Yeah. I like that. I really liked that.

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[00:38:51] Mary Kingsley: Yeah. There's still time to sign up. So get on in there and get your ticket and come in. We want to see you there and we want you in our community and learning all kinds of things about slow living.

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[00:39:07] Mary Kingsley: Bye bye.

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