A Youthful Voice...The Advocate Youth Page Schyler Angell

Associate Editor,
Advocate Youth Page

My very first job was wrapping presents on a table in the back of Angell’s Western Wear. The Christmas shopping season was the busiest time of year for my very first job, so even the littlest family members were allowed to “clock in” and join the fun.

While customers shopped the clothing racks, I took jeans and boots from the front check-out counter, where my sister or cousin was likely working, and ran back to the wrapping table as quickly as possible. While at the wrapping table I’d stuff the box, neatly tape the Santa Clause paper and finish it off with a bright bow. With cool air dramatically moving in, it won’t be long until the holiday wrapping paper and shopping lists come around again. I can’t help but get excited when thinking about choosing gifts for family members, drinking hot coco and having a nice break from school.

As the season of giving (and buying) begins, it is nice to set some intentions for our holiday buys. Shopping local benefits the local economy and keeps money within the community. For every $100 that is spent at local businesses, $68 dollars stays within the community. When money is spent at chain-stores or non-local businesses, only $43 of the $100 stays in the community. Local stores are also likely to carry items that are produced in your community. For example, in my community we have lots of small vendors that provide jewelry, farmhouse decor, and custom signs to other locally owned retail storefronts. These local businesses are also more likely to create jobs for community members whereas large chain stores tend to remove local jobs after driving local retailers out of business.

As Dave Ramsey might say, “Christmas is not an emergency. It comes every single December.” Making a budget for holiday spending can be a good way to lower stress in this busy season. Some sources encourage allocating money for shopping local into your budget. With money set aside, if you find something you like in a local shop, you can happily purchase the item... even if it may be a few dollars cheaper online. It’s important to consider where the money goes while you’re shopping. Amazon has products available at the click of a button, but that money doesn’t support the 15,621,419 small business owners of America who donate to local sports teams, events and charities.

Purchasing services and experiences can be another fun avenue to explore for Christmas gifts. Parents are increasingly overwhelmed by the amount of kid stuff (toys, books and clothes) that crowd their homes year-around. The holidays can be a great time to gift experiences that families can participate in throughout the year. This could be a trip to a museum, concert tickets, or gym and pool passes. The college kids in your life might appreciate gift cards to local restaurants instead of another Walmart knickknack.

The perfect opportunity to support your community is quickly approaching. Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday supported by American Express that brings communities together in support of local businesses. November 30th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is the perfect day to take to the streets of your town and do some Christmas shopping. A lot has changed in the way we shop over the years, but I still look forward to hearing my Papa holler out “I need a wrapper!” as Christmas shoppers browse our store.