This holiday season, shop local

We don’t often dole out straight-up advocacy here on the In Box, but this holiday season I want you to at least consider a specific, no-holds-bar appeal:  Shop local. 

Wherever you are across the North Country, keep in mind all the things that your local, brick-and-mortar (and preferably, mom-and-pop) retailer does for your community.

You want a thriving, bustling downtown?  This is one of those moments when you can help make that happen.  Are you happy that there are local artists and artisans still working in our region?  Your gift-giving this holiday season can re-enforce that cool thing.

Do you want shops and local enterpreneurs that donate to local causes?  You help make that happen over the next few days.

I know a lot of people are anxious about the commercialism and money-driven qualities that have pervaded the holiday season.  This is one way to put a very clear, healthy frame around your gift-buying.  Your interactions with your neighbors will be more meaningful.  The things you buy will be more real, more substantive, more connected to our place.

Finally, I want to make a pitch for muddling through the ‘inconvenience’ of local shopping.  I know that walking shop to shop in your town may seem less convenient.  Maybe in your rural area, you have to actually drive to two or three neighboring villages to get to retailers who have the things you want and need.

Especially this time of year, those little pilgrimages can have big pay-offs.  You’ll run into people you haven’t seen for a while.  You’ll have a chance to explore your own back yard a bit.  Getting everything at one superstore — let’s face it — just doesn’t have the same energy or spirit.

I think you’ll also find that our region has a lot more to offer than you might realize.

Many of our small towns still have remarkably vibrant commercial districts, with innovative, wordly business people.  Give them a fresh look.  If you can leave a few more of your dollars here in the North Country this weekend, it will mean jobs and vitality in ways that are hard to calculate.

Yes, in some places the goods and services cost a little more, though the price differences often turn out to be a lot less than you think.  And you often wind up buying higher quality stuff that was produced more ethically.

Socially responsible spending this holiday season — the easiest shortcut is to stay local.  Happy Thanksgiving!

9 Comments on “This holiday season, shop local”

  1. Kathy says:

    I love this idea but for many people in the North Country it is too expensive.

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  2. Jim Bullard says:

    In a moment of shameless self promotion I agree and suggest that Adirondack photographs make nice gifts.

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  3. Pete Klein says:

    Yes, shop local to the extent possible.
    Many of the towns in Hamilton County are promoting the idea. In Indian Lake, it’s called the Country Christmas Tour.
    For items not available locally, shop on the Internet and avoid both the crowds and the cost of gas.
    Remember, once you leave your county, your sales tax dollars are going to another county.

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  4. The Original Larry says:

    Every trip you make to the mall is another death blow to the downtown and economy of your community, not to mention its tax base.

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  5. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    How about this addendum, spend a little extra on high quality items that will outlast the cheaper products.

    Often the high quality stuff is available locally at a rate that is competitive. And don’t forget artisan manufacturers.

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  6. Pete Klein says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention that if you shop online as opposed to leaving your county to buy something in a different county, the sales taxes you pay will go to your county instead of another county, thus providing revenue for the services you receive from your county.

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  7. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Here’s some info on buying American made. While not necessarily about buying local there are some good ideas including buying on Etsy where you can find lots of local artisans.

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  8. Verplanck says:

    Addendum #2: it’s ok to buy fewer local items than many big box items. One nice, high quality local gift is worth 5 cheap walmart gifts.

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  9. Christine says:

    Switching to shopping local can cost more, so use strategy…I suggest marking a percentage of your holiday spending on Local shops and makers….remember for every hundred dollars you spend, almost $30 stays circulating in your community. Imagine if everyone who has a $500 holiday budget spends $100 of their budget locally? (this can mean thousands or hundreds of thousands circulating in the new year!) Also consider restaurants, cafes, etc….so any money you can spend locally can really help the LOCAL economy. Anything you buy from someone who sources things locally (a designer who uses local factories and buys fabrics from local sources..restos that buy from local farms) is bonus points! That biz/maker is generating wealth for your community, and so are you by shopping with them.

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