I don’t think I’ve seen a newscast lately that doesn’t include a report on the economic strife that is hitting the holiday season this year. Inflation. Rising food costs. Painful interest rates. All of those factors are leading to less shopping.
Of course, we are entering the season of parties, dinners out, indulging in special treats, gift-giving, heading to special holiday events. Yes, it’s been a rough few years of not doing many of the activities that make the season special, and maybe many of us just need a distraction from world events, but do we need to add more financial stress to ourselves?
A solution? How about an “errand hang?”
Making the rounds online for a while now, an errand hang is quite simple. You have errands to run. Your friend has errands to run. You do them together, collectively crossing items of your to do list, and enjoy low key socializing that avoids both the expense and the awkward small talk that happens while you’re waiting for the cheque to be dropped on the table.
Here re a few suggestions for how to make it work.
List some specific tasks with an itinerary and save some gas by going together. Post office, check. Fetching a book on hold at the library, check. Delivering donations to charity such as the food bank, animal shelter or thrift store, check. You’ll catch up in the car while sipping coffee.
An errand hang doesn’t eliminate shopping and we should all do our best to support local. Instead of a long lunch, make your “friend hang” (another name for the errand hang) a stop by your favourite spot to buy a gift card to use in the New Year.
I’m planning on taking my dad shopping for a variety of cream liqueurs so we can create recipes for a future column, and for my mom to use in some of her holiday baking. My maternal errand hang will then be me plating this year’s treats and giving them a spin.
Share the load at grocery shopping. Be the “declutter” friend and help clean out a closet or locker, then take the clutter to recycling, charity or have the more technical pal sell unneeded items online. Pack your old papers together and take them to be shredded or recycled. Wouldn’t that be satisfying?
I had a virtual errand hang with a pal in another city that might make a few chefs proud. On Zoom, we both chopped the ingredients for mirepoix, the flavour base of carrots, celery and onions for many dishes. We cooked some of it with some different spices and fats, left some of it raw and then prepped it all for freezing.
Now we’re both ready to text each other recipes and make soups all winter, but no Zooming for that. No one needs to see my mess on screen.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.