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Occupy Local Businesses for the Holidays

Occupy Local Businesses for the Holidays

As I write this post, it is Black Friday, the day that all of us are encouraged to go out and spend money to not only support the economy, but ironically, to save ourselves some money for the holiday season.

I personally donít get how going into debt or buying more things they donít need will prove to our friends and loved ones how much they mean to us, especially when most of these products donít even come from or support our local communities anymore.

Thatís why I have spent the past decade looking for alternatives and have increasingly been doing more to support my local community and businesses, all of them, not just those that are food-related.

Spending at local businesses,†rather than at chain stores or online, keeps money in the community. This helps local economies because these businesses are more likely to buy from local suppliers, hire these local service providers, and of course hire employees.

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, often they know you.

Buying locally doesnít just mean buying at retail stores; it also means the local restaurant, coffee house, hair salon, and even local services such as plumbers, accountants, and electricians. All of these services are things that people need and want and make great gifts. Many sell gift cards or will make you one if you ask them.

If you arenít sure where to start or whatís near your friends and loved ones, there are several great web sites that list the independents by business type. Here are some sites to get you started:

American Booksellerís Association

American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)

Independent Coffee, Music, Movies, and Organic Food

And, since I am a farm writer and live in Southern California, with year-round access to fresh from the farm produce, I also want to encourage those that live in a place where you can do the same, to give your friends and loved ones sustainable, local, food and farm gifts.

If you live near a year-round farmersí market, you can make your own gift basket and 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.

Itís a great way to help support local farmers while getting your holiday shopping done, giving your friends and family some great gifts. Itís also a great way to avoid the big box stores and the stress of the holiday shopping season. Best of all, you are not only supporting local farmers and local food, but also the local economy.

Read more: Christmas, Conscious Consumer, Do Good, 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.

22 comments

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10:15AM PDT on Oct 22, 2012

I try to buy mostly locally
I'm not worried about giving $ to foreign company

3:26AM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

I love to take day trips exploring our local small communities. You'd be surprised at the locally produced things available. These products are unique and buying them supports the local artisans.

7:48AM PST on Dec 5, 2011

I'm an American ex-pat, living in China. The cost of shipping things back to the States is prohibitive for me, so it's going to be Amazon gift certificates for the folks back home. If I *was* living in the States though, I would definitely shop locally.

5:24PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

i don't even know what local businesses still exist around here! Kinda sad, but a lot have got shut down.

10:13PM PST on Dec 1, 2011

Will try to.

4:34PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Agreed...the best of recycling...keeping it local builds your community and the ties you share, which continues to build into the kind of place you are pleased to live.

8:38PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Shopping at the local thrift store count?
Gifts are going to be those donations to a cause with the recipient's name on a card.

7:39PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

I shop local whenever possible.

4:03PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

I always shop local & make a lot of my gifs.

3:34PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

local works for me, thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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