John and I walked home late Thanksgiving night, trying to walk off a few of the thousands of calories we’d ingested with friends, and our path took us past a big shopping center down the street where crowds were lining up for Black Friday sales.
I’ve never felt compelled to get up in the middle of the night to shop at big box stores, but I guess I can understand people wanting to stretch their Christmas shopping budgets with discounted merchandise.
Still, I’m grateful for the small businesses in our neighborhood — they’re a big part of what makes our nabe unique — and I’ll try to do as much of my Christmas shopping with them as possible.
I’ve blogged before about the 3/50 project, which asks you to choose three local businesses you really value and would hate to see close and commit to spending $50 at each of them monthly.
Could you do something similar with your holiday shopping? Make a list of small, independent businesses you love and find a way to prioritize them as you’re thinking of gifts?
- How about a gift certificate from your favorite restaurant?
- Clothing or books from a cool local shop?
- A cooking class, a massage or other service from a local business person?
It’s not just local small businesses I’m grateful for. I just placed an order with Zingerman’s, the Ann Arbor institution, to deliver a gift box, and we love giving growlers of Arbor Brewing beer.
When I visit a new town, the local businesses help tell me something about that community. Not that I never go to Starbucks or Banana Republic, but if they’re everywhere, they don’t help me understand a place like the Louisiana Music Factory, a record shop in the French Quarter that features live music in the middle of the store, or the Brattleboro Food Coop, where the selection of Vermont cheeses is stunning.
My favorite local grocery store, Sahadi’s, has a sign for Small Business Saturday in their window. We already stocked up there for our Thanksgiving dish to pass, but it’s a safe bet I’ll spend more money there this weekend. Partly because I’d like to get a jump on some gift shopping, and partly because I’m grateful for them and want to show it with my financial support.