It is two days until Black Friday. My Charming Daughters and I have big plans. We are going to stay in our matching pajamas all day and knit and bake and watch old movies. I can’t wait. It isn’t that I don’t want to drive around in frustration looking for a parking space at the mall. And standing in long check out lines has it’s advantages – that’s a great time to clean the my inbox on my iPhone. The truth is, I do like to shop. But I have neither the energy nor the inclination to fight the crowds. Besides, I know myself well enough to know that those Black Friday bargains can sometimes backfire. Sure, no one on my list needs a heated back scratcher, but it’s only 9.99!!! And that 20 pack of day glow knee socks for $5? What a deal! But aside from my low tolerance for crowds and my tendency to be wooed by flashy signs and low prices aside, there is another reason I will be staying out of the big stores as much as possible, not just on Black Friday, but all season.
As I mentioned in my post, Save Christmas! Observe Advent!, I find there is a certain virtue in shopping locally. When you shop local merchants, not only do you support a local family and your local economy and and so much more, but you also enjoy a holiday experience that is free from the frustration of insane crowds, impersonal service, and the over commercialization and exploitation of Christmas.
Today, I did some Christmas shopping around my hometown, and not once did I park more than a few feet from the door or lock my car – locking my car has become somewhat of a hassle since one of my Charming Blessing broke my key fob. Now I have to unlock it by hand, therefore setting off the alarm every time. The blaring horn and flashing lights are not a Charming addition to my holiday shopping experience.
In my local stores, I was greeted by sales people I know and who know me and the people I’m shopping for. I never felt rushed. And the selection did not disappoint.
At my first stop I found, among other things, adorable farm decor – perfect for the Charming Farmer. Also, for stocking stuffers or teachers gift they had these fun, sassy refrigerator magnets. And if I was shopping for a baby, I’d definitely be picking up some of these cutie booties.
Next, I found cuteness for teens and tweens…
And then fashion and decor for the truly trendy…
I went on to a unique store specializing in handmade and locally made gifts…
And then to my favorite drugstore, where I found gifts for little ones, puzzlers, and natural beauties…
And finally I dropped into the local used book store…
Of course, shopping options and selections vary from town to town, but the point is that by taking the time to stop by local merchants, you might fine more than expected. And local shopping doesn’t just mean shopping small boutiques. Here are some other ways to keep it local this Christmas and all year long…
Let’s Be Practical
Your local businesses are a great place to find that practical gift. Check out a service station for new tires or car accessories. Go by your vet for pet toys and supplies. Or stop in at your local farm supply store or hardware store and create a custom tool box or grab a pair of work or garden gloves.
Food gifts are fun gifts and always appreciated. Shop for local honey, homemade candies, or even a CSA subscription for the coming spring. And of course, a gift certificate to a favorite local restaurant always makes a yummy gift.
Most towns have several local hair salons that offer much more than haircuts. Even the smaller salons usually carry haircare products and nail polish. Many offer other beauty services as well. Waxing, facials, even massage services are commonly offered by local salons.
Last year, my dad gave me the gift that both pleases and insults – a certificate to have my car detailed. Once I got past the “So, what are you saying…” reaction, I was thrilled. Consider buy someone you love a day of housekeeping services, lawn service, or babysitting. Now that’s a treat!
The truth is, that no matter how many local stores I patronize or how many local services I take advantage of, there will be things on my children’s Christmas lists that I can’t find here in our town. I will have to shop online for some things or head to a big chain store. But if everyone bought even a few Christmas gifts locally and continued year round to support the families that support their community, entire towns would reap the benefits. And that’s a bargain at any price.
Linked at The Homestead Barn Hop