Congratulations! If you are reading this with your feet up, sipping a cup of coffee, and enjoying this joyful time surrounded by friends and family, you have probably avoided the trap of Black Friday’s shopping madness. So let's help you preserve that post-Thanksgiving glow by suggesting how you can turn your upcoming holiday shopping into an enjoyable experience that also creates value for the community.
First, consider this. A recent study indicated that when you shop in a locally owned store, twice as much of your money will stay in the community compared to spending at a national chain or a big-box store. And we are blessed by having a town that is filled with locally owned stores, restaurants, and skilled service suppliers. So here are a few suggestions about how you can rethink your shopping list this year.
- Instead of buying some cheap Chinese products shipped half way around the world so it could be offered as a "Doorbuster Special," wouldn't it be so much more thoughtful to give an item made by hand by one of our artists, potters, or other talented local craftspeople?
- Or how about giving that special person a session or two with one of the town's excellent personal trainers, massage therapists, or beauty salons?
- This area is blessed with many excellent restaurants, and it's hard to imagine anything more thoughtful than a gift certificate for dinner at your personal favorite.
- And here's an idea for young families or those who host out-of-town visitors: a subscription to VINS. It will offer them an enjoyable year-long destination while supporting a great local institution.
- For those who would like to give a truly enduring gift, nothing could be more thoughtful than offering someone the gift of learning. This area is blessed with wonderful teachers of music, art, and dance, as well as great coaches who can improve your skills in golf, tennis, or skiing.
- Our area farms also have so much to offer and several local stores will put together beautiful gift baskets of cheese, maple syrup, sausage, and wine that are all proudly labeled "Made in Vermont."
- But what can you give to those people on your list who have everything, or those who believe that the holiday season has become too commercial? The perfect solution is to give the gift of giving. In this season and during this time of need, it's hard to imagine anyone who would not be delighted to know that a gift had been made in their name to one of the local nonprofit organizations that support good work in this town.
So let's keep this holiday season simple, sane, and sustainable. Supporting our local merchants, farmers, and craftspeople will put everyone in a good holiday mood.
by Chris Bartlett