Put a little local in your holiday shopping this season

by Laurie Caswell Burke

The holidays are upon us. As twinkling lights appear on the trees and chocolate turkeys and candy canes on the store shelves, shopping has begun. For most of us, the holidays are a time to share festive occasions like meals and gift exchanges with friends and family. It can also be a stressful time when there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Keeping things simple at this time of year may be difficult, but buying locally will not only help our community; it will prevent stress at the same time.

Did you know that the United States imports 2.2 trillion dollars worth of products from 150 countries? In the United States, only 33.6 percent of the revenue from national chains is reinvested into the community, which is very low compared to a 64.8 percent return from local businesses. According to www.eLocal.com, “If people of an average American city were to shift 10 percent of their spending from chains to local businesses, it would bring an additional $235 million per year to the community’s economy.”

Shelburne is very special. Knowing the shop owners on a first name basis makes for a very personal experience. They depend on us to keep them in business and I can’t imagine our town without the quaint shops, eateries, and bountiful markets. Here is just a sampling of holiday shopping options that won’t take you far from home.

Shelburne Farms Visitor Center offers “Sample the Season” Friday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 25 (10 am-5 pm). There will be lots of great products to sample, in store specials, and an opportunity to do mail order gifts of your favorite products with a 10 percent discount, 20 percent for members.

Shelburne Museum Store will be open Friday Nov. 23- Sunday, Nov. 25 (9:30 am-5 pm) and promises big end-of-season sales.

Saturday, Dec. 1, the Annual Craft Fairs at our local elementary and middle schools will sell a wide variety of wonderful items, many made by the children. There will be games, music, and delicious food too!  Shelburne Community School PTO Craft Fair takes place (9:30 am-1:30 pm) and the Lake Champlain Waldorf School Holiday Fair is 10 am-2 pm. (At Waldorf, there’s shopping for adults only on Friday evening from 6:30-9:30 pm.)

Stop by Village Wine and Coffee on Dec. 8 or Dec. 22 to hear some great music by Toni Catlin and Brett Hughes while wine tasting (2:30-4:30 pm). Pick out the perfect wines for holiday parties, meals, or gifts. They offer an excellent selection from several small family wineries in France and Italy. Take a break to share a festive cup of coffee or hot cocoa with a friend. You can also purchase local wine and beer at Shelburne Vineyards and Fiddlehead Brewing Company.

If you prefer online shopping, the CVU Nordic team is having an online auction of over 130 items. Sales raise money to purchase race wax for 169 plus skis and other equipment costs as their team grows in numbers! There are some amazing items that you can view on www.biddingforgood.com/cvunordic now through Dec. 3!

Great books, fun toys, interesting jewelry, beads, flowers, plants, wreaths, linens, Vermont products, and more can also be purchased in Shelburne. Consider supporting one of our local gift artisans like printmaker Casey Blanchard who sells beautiful prints and cards. Wind Ridge Publishing offers local author’s books, published locally and sold locally at the Flying Pig and Shelburne Farms. Classes at the new Writers Barn can be found at www.windridgepublishing.com, another great gift idea!

Last but not least, the gift of time spent with a good friend or family member is always special and by far one of the most meaningful of the season.

Clearly there are some gift items you’ll find elsewhere but give shopping locally a chance this holiday season. If all of us spent at least 10 percent of our holiday dollars in town, imagine the impact it would have on our community.

Next month: Celebrating a year of progress on the environmental front. Share your accomplishments with us.


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