Founders’ Note: On Shopping Small This Holiday Season

We know what you’re thinking. October isn’t even over yet, why are we thinking about the holidays? Why are we worrying about shopping? Can’t we just enjoy fall?

We absolutely believe it’s important to live in the moment and enjoy each season as it comes, to be conscious of our communities and not just thinking about consumption. But we’ve also begun to see holiday-themed emails trickling into our inboxes (not to mention news of supply chain and shipping challenges), so we wanted to take a moment to think about the weeks ahead, and how we, as a network of small businesses and as members of communities that are fortunate to have them, can make holiday shopping more enjoyable and meaningful.

Recently, we asked our editors to share the holiday traditions and activities they look forward to in their towns every year. Tellingly, they all described events and occasions that brought their communities together for a bit of magic unique to their cities, from tree lightings to Christmas parades, as well as strolls to local shops to see business owners who have become friends. As we prepare for an undoubtedly busy holiday season, it was a joyful reminder of the wonderful experiences in store, and how lucky we are to live in places with vibrant local businesses who contribute to our towns—and our lives—in so many ways.

“Shopping online is buying, shopping local is an experience.” —Dawn Pumpelly, The Scout Guide Huntsville

We also talked to our editors about the reasons why they shop local. As local small business advocates, their answers were personal, inspiring, and practical. “We all ‘source’ things online when we need something specific. But, shopping local is so much better than that,” Dawn Pumpelly, editor of The Scout Guide Huntsville noted. “It means connecting with a person who chose the products themselves and lovingly displays them for their customers. It is about hearing what makes the shop unique and learning about the history of their lives, their family. Shopping online is buying, shopping local is an experience!” We’ll be sharing more sentiments from editors about shopping small throughout the holiday season on Instagram, so please follow along @thescoutguide.

So as our inboxes fill up with shopping reminders and stress starts creeping in about shipping or we feel overwhelmed by our to-do lists, let’s all remember what our own backyards have to offer. Local retailers deck the halls and stock their shelves with carefully selected items chosen with their customers in mind and stand at the ready to help us find a present for even the trickiest recipient. Local service providers often sponsor community events. Local business owners support local non-profit organizations. And they, in turn, need—and deserve—to receive support from us. Buy from your locally owned shops. Gift experiences from local service providers who are likely supporting your community’s production of The Nutcracker. Send stationery created by a local expert rather than an online template. They—and you—will be glad you did.

Discover excellent local businesses in your city via our city websites.