As the holiday season approaches, the joy of giving and spreading cheer fills the air, along with Mariah Carey's voice. This year, let's embrace the spirit of of the holidays with an extra touch of thoughtfulness and responsibility. One of the best ways to be a thoughtful shopper is by supporting our cherished local small businesses. Today I want to explore why it's so vital to shop locally and offer tips on how to be a more thoughtful shopper this holiday season, especially when the economy is so difficult out there right now.
- The Heart of the Community:
Local small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. They infuse character, culture, and personality into our neighbourhoods. When we support them, we're not just buying products; we're investing in the vibrancy and prosperity of our own towns and cities. Personally, whenever I can, I will research a product that I am interested in and try to find a local supplier or a locally made version of what I am after. I do this because I know that not only am I getting the product I want, but I am also making an investment into my community...and let's be honest more often than not locally made things are better quality, which leads me to my next point.
- Quality and Craftsmanship:
Small businesses take immense pride in their craft. Whether it's handcrafted jewellery (most of my pieces are Ishk Jewels, Mermaid & Bear and Botanical H2O), artisanal candles (like Ruby Lights or Equal Candles), or freshly baked treats (Joe's Vegan Buns, Flora & Fauna)....or even your favourite Crystal shop (CRYSTAL & STONE, duh!) you're not just purchasing an item, but a piece of someone's heart and soul. These products are made with care, attention to detail, and a level of craftsmanship that's hard to find in mass-produced goods.
- Sustainability and Ethical Practices:
Many local businesses prioritize sustainability and ethical sourcing. They often use eco-friendly materials, support local artisans, and embrace environmentally conscious practices. By choosing to shop locally, you're making a positive impact on the planet.
- Fostering a Sense of Community:
When you shop locally and attend events or workshops at local businesses, you're not just making a transaction – you're building relationships. You're getting to know the faces behind the business, hearing their stories, and becoming a part of their journey. This sense of community fosters a deeper connection and a feeling of belonging that you simply can't get from a big-box store.
- Tips for Thoughtful Christmas Shopping:
Plan Ahead: Start your shopping early to allow ample time for browsing and finding that perfect gift. You can start to think of that person's vibe and what kind of gift they might like or appreciate.
Make a List: Create a list of loved ones and jot down their interests and preferences. This will help you narrow down your options and make more personalised choices. If you need help narrowing down preferences and vibes, make sure you ASK local shopkeepers and employees for assistance, they are more than happy to make sure you leave their shops happy!
Explore Local Markets and Boutiques: Visit local markets, artisan fairs, and boutique stores. You'll discover unique, one-of-a-kind gifts that you won't find in larger chain stores.
Consider Gift Cards and Experiences: Gift cards from local restaurants, spas, shops or experiences like workshops or classes can be incredibly thoughtful and allow your loved ones to create lasting memories. Attending a workshop or class at the shop with their friend or family can also be an opportunity to create a one of a kind gift for them.
Spread the Word: Share your local finds with friends and family. Encourage them to also support small businesses in their own holiday shopping.
It is extremely important to note that every purchase from a local small business is a vote of confidence in their dreams and aspirations. Let's make this holiday season a celebration of dreams fulfilled and communities thriving so this holiday season, let's celebrate the joy of giving while being responsible, thoughtful, and supportive of our local small businesses. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in our communities and spread the true spirit of the holidays.