With this year’s holiday gift-buying frenzy already picking up speed, we all have a choice to make: do we purchase gifts for our loved ones from large corporations, or do we spend our dollars in our own communities and buy from local business owners?
Buying locally has innumerable advantages. As Paul Miller, the Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability in Morristown, New Jersey, pointed out in a recent interview with the Green Divas Radio Show, local businesses put a much larger portion of the money that they make back into the community than large chain retailers.
National and international corporations, on the other hand, put the majority of their profits back into perpetuating the sale and advertisement of mass-produced items that are created with little care for the consumer.
Shopping for local gifts offers you the chance to find some really unique items, created by local artisans and craftspeople, that will be cherished by those on your list long after the holidays are over. If you are looking for materials to create your own handmade gifts, local suppliers may offer an array of beautiful craft materials that you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
If you are buying for a book lover, community book stores often have lower prices, as well as some hard-to-find titles in rare editions. You may have to do a little bit of digging, but the look on that special someone’s face will be well worth it. The same holds true for local music shops.
If you do not wish to create holiday recipes in your own kitchen, your locally-owned food store or organic grocer is a great place to find handmade holiday treats that are sure to please the most difficult people on your list to shop for.
In his interview with the Green Divas, Paul Miller mentions Slow Money, a growing movement that is dedicated to investing money back into communities, beginning with local food systems. Since 2010, this movement has invested over 30 million dollars into 221 small food establishments across the United States.
Miller also tells holiday shoppers that some cities and towns, including his town of Morristown, New Jersey, inspired by Slow Money principles, offer incentives for buying locally, such as gift cards to be used at various local businesses. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see if these options are available in your area.
This season, instead of following the crowd and rushing to the nearest large retailer, shop around your local businesses first and see what treasures you discover. It is a wonderful way to give an important holiday gift to your community, as well.
-The Alternative Daily