More Than a Gift

Gifts >

How shopping local benefits the recipients of your gifts.

America has become a bit of a “throwaway society,” says Bill Brunelle, co-founder and managing partner at Independent We Stand. “Once something doesn’t work, it goes in the landfill, and you get what you pay for sometimes.” But the holidays are the perfect time to break out of this mode. “When you’re looking for a gift that will make someone feel good, buy something unique, something they don’t have in big boxes or national chains.”

When you take the time to find something special, you’re giving the person some of yourself, says Heidi Butzine, founder of and author of “Shop Local: A Practical, Pain-Free Guide to Shopping With a
Purpose” (Simplex Publishing, 2012).

Perhaps the gift will represent where you live. “Your gift can remind them of you or provide an escape,” she says. “Gift giving is so individualized. You just need to stop and think.”

If you’re shopping locally, you don’t have to think alone. “You can go into a local toy store and talk to someone who’s really well trained in child development,” says Kathleen McHugh, president of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). Just give them the child’s age, and you can likely walk out with the perfect present. “That’s priceless – there’s no guessing!”

Plus, you can select from more than just the latest mass-produced toys and games. You’ll get a range of creative, open-ended playthings. “It’s not about what the toy does, but what the child does with this toy,” McHugh says.

“If a kid can find a million ways to play with the same toy, you’ve hit the jackpot.”

In the same way, the bookseller in town may suggest local or regional authors you haven’t heard of, the local boutique may have clothing or jewelry by designers you might otherwise miss, and the music store down the street may have cutting-edge tunes by independent artists, plus a great selection of vintage vinyl, these experts say.
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