Local businesses need support this holiday season

Don't let small businesses get left behind — support local when you can!

Christmas is an exciting time. Decorating, baking, and seeing pretty lights are all things you can do to get into the Christmas spirit. Holiday shopping is another part of the fun. Getting to peruse through little knick-knacks in stores, or seeing that fuzzy sweater you know your friend would love, is what makes gift-buying so fun. While it’s convenient to shop at places like Walmart, Costco, and even Amazon, there are some businesses that might be left behind, and need our support.

This holiday season, make sure you shop locally, instead of opting for ease and convenience. Shopping local means being part of the community — these businesses bring life and diversity to the city.

The big-box stores are always going to be around no matter what. However, local businesses are special in the way they go the extra mile, and strive to provide a warm and welcoming presence in the city. We shouldn’t let them be overshadowed by the big guys, who don’t need our help to begin with.

In today’s age of technology, there is increasingly easy access to online shopping. With just the click of a button, you can have all your Christmas gifts purchased and crossed off the wish-list. On Cyber Monday, for example, Amazon had a number of sales with enticing discounts. 

The ease and convenience of online shopping is tempting. I won’t lie — I’ve indulged in it a number of times. Yet there are so many local businesses that are out there to buy Christmas gifts from instead. A lot of people might not even consider local businesses as a place to get their presents. Yet I encourage people to pop into a local store close to them, or check-out a farmers’ market or craft fair. See what unique things they have to offer — things even Santa himself might not have in his workshop. 

Some local businesses have been promoting advent calendars that are specific to them! Analog Brewing for instance, has a “12 Beers of Christmas” box, with unique flavours of beer from four breweries in the city, priced at $75. At first glance it might seem expensive for an advent calendar, but it ends up only being $6.25 per beer. That’s less than what you might pay for at a pub in the city. 

The Tea Girl has sample packs and gift sets that are perfect for the tea-lovers in your life! There is even a Holiday Sampler Pack that comes with different types of tea and adorable drawstring tea bags. You can even add a personalized note free of charge!

If you’re anything like me and find it hard to pick out gifts for people, The Makers Keep has you covered! They have customizable gift bundles for those who might need a bit of extra help when it comes to gift-giving. You can choose your price range and include information about the person you’re gifting it to. This is also a great option if you don’t have as much time to shop for gifts — the people at the Makers Keep get to do it for you!

These local businesses, along with so many others in the city, have amazing options for Christmas gifts this season. It’s important that we support them the best we can. Additionally, it’s important we support them all-year round. Local businesses are a vibrant part of our community here in Edmonton. They provide the personality and specialization that most big-box stores cannot adhere to. By supporting these local treasures in our city, we can benefit from their generosity and uniqueness — and they can benefit from ours too.  

For some people, shopping online or at big-box stores is the most affordable option. If you want to support local businesses without necessarily spending anything, there are things you can do. Subscribing to a local business’ newsletter, or even just popping into the store, shows them that Edmontonians care about them. Additionally, if you are able to buy even one of your gifts from a local business this season, it could help them tremendously. And, if you do have the ability to spend a little extra this Christmas, go see what’s out there in the city and consider choosing some local places to get your gifts from. 

Don’t let local businesses get left in the snow this Christmas season. They deserve to shine as bright as Rudolph’s nose, and find their way into your heart.

Brooklyn Hollinger

Brooklyn is the 2024-25 Arts & Culture Editor at The Gateway. She previously served as the 2023-24 Deputy Opinion Editor. She is a Classics major and Creative Writing minor. She is a lover of fantasy books, peach iced tea, and can usually be found obsessing over pictures of her dog Zoey.

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