"And he puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.
--Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas



Over the past few months, I have been working with my local community on a Buy Local Challenge, with the aim of buying as many items on my shopping list as possible from my local independently-owned stores.  I've been blogging about the experience on the Luray Downtown Initaitive's blog and Facebook page and in general learning a lot about how shopping locally supports my friends, neighbors, and community.


Recently, I wrote a blog post as part of the Buy Local Challenge on starting a new holiday tradition.  And it dawned on me that although I wrote this post with my local town in mind, its message applies to local communities all over the country.  So I'm sharing.  Here's the post. Will you join me in starting a new holiday tradition this year?



I sure do love a good holiday tradition.  Like many Americans, I love to decorate my home with lights and greenery, make gingerbread houses, bake ridiculous amount of cookies, and spend as much time as possible with family and friends.  But I really love the traditions that are particular to my local community.  There is the Christmas parade where for one night every year I let my kids eat candy that has fallen in the street.  The elaborate holiday displays on West Main Street.  And of course the much anticipated visit from Santa on the fire engine.


This year I would like to propose a new holiday tradition.  One that is fun and festive and strikes at the heart of what these holidays are really about.  Caring – really truly caring – for our friends, family and neighbors.


The idea is to rethink the holiday gift list so that it benefits the recipient and leaves you feeling good about where you spent your hard earned dollars.  When I write about buying local, many folks respond by saying that the items on their shopping list simply can’t be found in local stores.  Depending upon what is on your list, that may be the case.  But what if you could change the list?


Does Christmas have to be made in China and sold at big-box stores?  Or can it be hand-crafted and served up by the folks in your local stores? For the person who has everything, how about a gift certificate from their favorite local store, salon, or restaurant? Who wouldn’t love movie tickets, a gym membership, an oil change, a massage or pedicure, or a free house cleaning?


I know it sounds cliché, but there really is something for everyone on your shopping list right in your local community.  And doesn’t it feel more in line with the holiday spirit to know that your purchase will not only make the recipient happy, but it will also support your neighbors and community?


Here’s to starting a new holiday tradition!


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