Every year I climb on the soapbox for a couple of minutes to say a few words about the benefits of shopping with small, family owned businesses. It isn't that I don't understand why some things really need to come from places that don't fall under that description! Computers and cameras don't grow on trees. My own sensibilities and choices lead me to what appears to be a future of eternal bargain hunting, so I also know that price matters - a lot.
So what can we do to make this particular season less stressful and draining? Personally, the mall sucks energy out of me so fast I can almost see it floating off. I haven't been in our local mall in a very long time. That's just zero fun. Big boxes? Also not any fun. If you have little ones, that can be very difficult, and you do what you have to do - no judgement here.
The internet has created communities where we know each other - much like we used to know the shopkeepers of 30 or 40 years ago. Because of that, I really enjoy shopping with the people I know on the internet. Many of them also happen to be advertisers in the magazine, and can be found along the right hand side of this post. You can take my word for it when I tell you that each of those businesses is run by a person or family that I know and trust.
The downtowns are also starting to come back, vibrantly, full of individuality and life. Talented artisans and craftsmen, great unusual shops, art galleries, museum shops, you name it! They're coming back to life in a deliciously different way. That is how I remember holiday shopping years ago! We'd meet downtown, shop around, grab a bite at a coffee shop or deli, and catch the bus home. It was so much fun, exciting, bracing, and it put us in a holiday mood. We got cold, and we loved it.
Finally, if you are a subscriber, you know that there is a lot of handmade gifting going on out there. That is also one of the more pleasant ways to get in the spirit. The next thing you know, everything is done, you're ready to celebrate with friends and loved ones, and it's time to welcome a new year. Everyone wins - you, the small business owner, and you're even doing your part to make the aisles less congested in the big box stores!
This ends my yearly diatribe.