couple shopping

Shop Local This Holiday Season

Whether you need to purchase gifts, greeting cards, dinner fixin's, baked goods, twinkle lights, decorations or even just some extra chairs, a new welcome mat, spare bedding or one more air mattress, the holiday season can seem like it's all about shopping. It is easy to get overwhelmed with sales flyers, doorbuster deals, free shipping and online offers, especially from large, nationwide chains. No matter what you need or want to buy, however, if you shop local this holiday season, you will get far more than just your purchase, and every penny you spend benefits many more people than just your family and friends.

Why Shop Local for the Holidays?

While it is true that an online selection might be more varied and less expensive than local stores (depending on shipping costs that can inflate prices), a purchase at a local store is much more than just a purchase. When you shop local, you…

  • Support jobs in your community so more employees earn paychecks they can use for their families and friends as well as their own bills and necessities.
  • See, touch and try the item you purchase to be sure of its quality, size, colors and other characteristics that cannot be accurately shown on a screen.
  • Enjoy higher quality items as well as more personalized customer service, without a faceless entity behind the store's inventory.
  • Get the item immediately with no delays for shipping or problems en route that could mean the package arrives too late for your holiday plans.
  • Develop relationships with business owners that can lead to even better customer service for special deals, unique orders and personal recommendations.
  • Choose from more unique, one-of-a-kind options that aren't available to everyone who has internet access or visits a big box retailer.
  • Support a more eco-friendly economy without excess shipping that adds to air pollution or bulky packaging that ends up in landfills.
  • Help more local businesses since the business owner you purchase from is more likely to shop local themselves for all their personal and business needs.
  • Support local charities that benefit from local donations, unlike larger retailers that are more likely to donate to national charities and those donations may not stay at home.
  • Create a local community personality for your hometown, helping develop a quaint shopping area with unique options that will attract more tourists and visitors.
  • Raise property values and enhance your community because of the proximity of well-developed, well-regarded businesses.

Unique Places to Shop Local This Holiday Season

Shopping local means more than just visiting big box stores and nationwide chains in your community. True local shopping means trying out one-of-a-kind small businesses and searching for more unique shopping options that can be pleasantly surprising with the wide variety of merchandise, gifts and services they offer. Great options to investigate for your local holiday shopping include…

  • Niche and boutique shops for clothes, crafts, gift items and many other unique options
  • Garden centers and nurseries for holiday plants, outdoor tools, bird feeders and more
  • Nature preserves for gift shops loaded with nature-themed gifts, guides and gadgets
  • Pet stores for trained and helpful staff to help pick out unique pet gift ideas 
  • Art galleries that feature unique work from local artists as well as other art-themed gifts
  • Craft fairs with a wide range of local and regional vendors for seasonal goodies
  • Museums with gift shops highlighting local history and regional flair
  • Hardware stores for the DIYer or crafter in your life
  • Independent and used book stores for all the literary gifts you can imagine
  • Spas and salons for locally crafted soaps, bath bombs and other indulgent items
  • Farms or farm stores for fresh local produce, honey and craft items with a rustic, nostalgic touch
  • Bed-and-breakfast inns with shops for all sorts of local handcrafted items and gifts
  • Thrift stores for a wide range of items at discount prices that often support charities

In addition to local shops for unique gift items, don't overlook gift cards and gift certificates from local service professionals. If you aren't sure what gift to buy this holiday season, a gift certificate for a future haircut at a local salon, a massage at a local spa, the next oil change at a local mechanic or even holiday cleanup from a local cleaning service can be the perfect option. By shopping local, you do a great service to your community even as you buy a great gift for that someone special.