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5 Local & Independent Gift Ideas

5 Local & Independent Gift Ideas

As I have written here several times, buying local is good for so many reasons including boosting the local economy, providing local jobs, and knowing who and where your goods come from. A benefit to consumers is that local businesses know their community, they know the products and services that those who live there want and need, and because many of them also live in that same community, they know you.

And, not that you need another reason in addition to these, but the recent garment factory fire in Bangladesh from unsafe working conditions resulting in the deaths of 112 people should add a more convincing reason to do so.

Buying locally doesn’t just mean buying at retail stores. Here are some other places and ideas that make great gifts while supporting local businesses.

Give a practical “service” oriented gift to a local hair salon, day spa, or even more practical like a window washing, car detailing, or house cleaning service. Many businesses sell gift cards or will make you one if you just ask them.

Give the foodie in your life a gift card to a favorite local restaurant, coffee house, bakery, deli or even an independent grocer.

Or, if you live near a year-round farmers’ market, you can make your own gift basket. If you live near local farms or farm trails, many of them have their own gift shops or stores with unique items that run the gamut from health and beauty products to fresh baked pies. Better yet, some farms offer cooking and gardening classes. A gift certificate for one of these would be a great gift.

The art lover in your life would love a membership to the local art gallery or museum, tickets to an upcoming art or show, or even a class at the local art center.

The same goes for those theater and music lovers. Depending on the size of the community you live in, this can mean tickets to a local theater company or tickets to an upcoming national production.

If you aren’t sure where to start or what’s near your friends and loved ones, there are several great web sites that list many independents by business type.

Here are some sites to get you started:

American Bookseller’s Association

American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)

Independent Coffee, Music, Movies, and Organic Food

Read more: Christmas, Conscious Consumer, Do Good, Food, Green Gifts, Hanukkah, Holidays & Gifts, , , ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.


+ add your own
1:48PM PST on Dec 8, 2012

Fantastic, lots of great ideas here, thanks for posting and arranging.

4:22PM PST on Dec 6, 2012

Great ideas. Thanks.

6:55PM PST on Dec 5, 2012


1:21PM PST on Dec 5, 2012


9:55AM PST on Dec 5, 2012

Thank you so much for the ideas for expanding local gift purchases. My gifts every year are a combination of home made and local purchased...the recipients really enjoy the back story on the gifts.

10:46PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

I always buy local.

9:19PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

I'm trying to make lots of homemade gifts this year!

6:05PM PST on Dec 4, 2012


3:29PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

Gift baskets are great, if you put it together yourself. Pre-made baskets are usually viewed the same as saying "I couldn't be bothered to think of anything personal or to make much of an effort. so I got this."

2:46PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

It only makes sense to support local businesses, unless you don't like where you live.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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