It's November, and that means the holiday shopping season is upon us! If you haven't finished your holiday shopping yet -- or, like me, have barely started it, then I would like to throw down a challenge: Shop Local.
Girl, I love seeing my mail carrier marching up my driveway with his arms full of Amazon boxes too, but keeping your hard earned money in your community and supporting small businesses is easier than you think (and it feels pretty darn good too). The holiday season is stressful for everyone, but for small business owners, the last 3 months of the year is usually make-it-or-break-it time. Many times, their success or failure during these months is the deciding factor as to whether or not they will stay open for business for another year. Also, small business owners often rely on the revenue they make during the holiday season to purchase holiday gifts for their own families (I know I do!), and they are grateful to have you as a customer.
So, without further ado, here are a few simple things you can do this holiday season to support local businesses and organizations.
1. Park your car and take a stroll up Main Street. Admire the shop windows decorated and lit up for the season, exchange greetings with the owners as you enter the stores, and when your hands are full of parcels and bags, take a break and warm up in your local coffee shop. It's like a scene from a Gilmore Girls holiday special and I am Here. For. It!
2. Hit up those holiday markets and craft fairs. It's no secret that I'm a HUGE proponent of buying handmade (you can read why HERE), and it's never easier to buy handmade than it is during the holidays. Holiday markets and craft shows are literally EVERYWHERE (even my super small town has one) and that's because there is nothing better than receiving a handmade gift.
3. Support local schools, clubs and sports teams. Raise your hand if you know someone with a kid. Chances are at least some of those kids are doing some sort of fundraising leading up to the holidays, and the money from those fundraisers goes right back into the community you live in. You can support these youngsters and put a smile on their sticky candy cane faces by gifting magazine subscriptions, holiday sweet treats or other wares they might be selling at this time of year.
So there you have it, 3 easy ways to support your local community this holiday season. Do I expect you to abandon online shopping altogether? No. Am I going to abandon it altogether? Probably not. BUT, I do plan on making an extra effort this year to distance myself from the Add To Cart button. Let's just say we're "on a break". ;)