There are many great reasons to shop locally this holiday season: doing so will stimulate the local economy, create jobs for your neighbors, and keep small businesses prospering. But for so many of us, the habit of shopping at big corporations is hard to break, especially if they are more convenient. Commit now to buying from local businesses, and with these tips, you can feel good this holiday season about supporting your local economy.
- Start your holiday shopping early. The likelihood of shopping at a large franchise goes up immensely if you leave your shopping until the last minute. Because you are sacrificing convenience for a good cause, you need to make sure that distance and time constraints are not obstacles for you.
- Plan gifts ahead of time. Once you know what to buy each friend and family member, you’ll be able to go only to the stores you need to go to and save time. You won’t be stuck close to the holidays without a gift, causing you to rush to the nearest store.
- If you need to take a break from gift-buying to eat, pick a local restaurant and not a fast-food chain. Even a quick stop at a food stand or food truck will put your money back into the local economy.
- Avoid the mall entirely. Unless you already know of a locally-owned business in your mall, you will be too tempted to buy from a large corporation.
- You can buy your Thanksgiving dinner locally too! Avoid buying groceries at places like Target or Wal-Mart; instead, pick grocery stores that are native to your region. To really get in the spirit of buying locally, find farmer’s markets or nearby farms for your produce and turkey.
- If you generally have your Thanksgiving dinner catered, choose a local restaurant.
- For miscellaneous gifts, check out local boutiques, bookstores, and coffee shops.
- Antique stores are also local businesses – buy your loved ones something really unique this year!
- Look into craft fairs for holiday décor.
- It is possible to buy customized items online and still shop locally. Etsy, an ecommerce marketplace, will tell you the city that each “shop” is located in. Local newspaper classifieds and Facebook groups can also alert you to local sellers.
How do you shop locally? Do you have any great tips for us? Share in the comments below!