It’s time to decide where we’ll be doing our holiday shopping this year. Although the act of gift-giving should be fun and stress-free, many of us fall into the shuffle of congested malls or last-minute eCommerce binge orders. This year, let’s be intentional with our purchases.
Shopping locally has a plethora of benefits for everyone. Goods and services that come from local business are more likely to be more customer-centered and quality-driven. Finding high-quality customer service during the holidays is ideal, and you’ll more likely experience it at your neighborhood Mom & Pop shop than a retailer servicing millions of guests all at once.
Along with purchasing presents and services locally, try shopping for ingredients at a farmers market for all the holiday meals you’ll be prepping or preparing. Shopping small for food promotes local agriculture with less overall use of fossil fuels. Most of their fresh produce has been picked within 24-48 hours of being sold.
Eating locally can be even better for your health for many reasons. Most locally-picked food hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals, making it less toxic. The produce is picked when it’s ripe, which helps it retain more nutrients – which is all-around better for you!
Small businesses carry locally-sourced and homemade items, therefore lessening the carbon footprint of those goods from production to consumer. Most small business owners are also inclined to shop locally themselves. The money you pay them for their product or service will then be recirculated back into the community, so not only do their employees benefit, the entire local economy does as well.
Searching for individualized gifts can seem overwhelming. Many of the stores carry a lot of the same merchandise with comparable prices. However, many small, local shops have one-of-a-kind items that can’t be found elsewhere. Your purchases support not only someone’s business, but also their individual creativity and the arts. Although some things may be more expensive at these smaller shops, you’re doing a lot more good by supporting them instead of buying a cheaper, lower-quality product from a big box store.
Food and presents purchased this holiday season should be intentional. The items you gift will be intimate and personalized if they come from local shops you love. Investing in the community and people you live among not only creates new bonds but also boosts the local economy. You can’t go wrong with shopping small this season!
Ashly Bloore is a freelance writer and mother of three