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Shop small and share the love this Christmas

Are you feeling excited about Christmas yet? It seems like half of us are dreading it with all the uncertainty we’re feeling, and the rest of us are thrilled to have something to look forward to, whatever form it may take. 

Not everyone has bags of free time, but many of us do. This affords us the opportunity to be a bit more mindful of how we do Christmas shopping this year. One way is to shop with small businesses that may be struggling in the face of the pandemic.

The temptation is to shop with big companies because it’s more convenient, but we’d urge you to reconsider this year. In a recent survey by The Independent, 50% of small business owners say that if everyone in their local community just spent £5 extra per week with small businesses, it would help to keep them open as they weather the storm. 

Here are our suggestions for a more meaningful Christmas shopping experience, and we hope it might inspire you to spend your money with those who’ll appreciate it most!

gifts from local shop

Do your research

You may have a gift idea in mind, so whether you’re on the search for a bracelet, an art print, knitted socks or a throw cushion, there are so many handmade businesses out there just waiting to be discovered.

We recommended starting by browsing Etsy, Not On The High Street and Folksy for handmade items – many at affordable prices. There is a new feature that highlights if a product is sold locally to you, if buying local is important to you. 

Reach out to local vendors

Not every small business has an e-commerce platform, but they still may offer a Click & Collect or delivery service while restrictions are in place. You may be able to organise this in lieu of popping out to the shops.

Your neck of the woods

Supporting your local small businesses is a great way to connect with your community and give something back. Your neighbours can also be really helpful when it comes to shopping with local small businesses. Even if they don’t have a web shop, small businesses likely have a social media presence – usually a Facebook page. 

Most towns and villages have local pages set up on Facebook to discuss local issues, but they’re also a great resource to discover new places to shop. Post something on one of these pages, asking everyone to share their favourite local businesses and tag in their page. You’ll likely be inundated with recommendations to peruse.

This conscious way of shopping isn’t limited to physical Christmas presents, either. Lots of Christmas markets in major cities have been cancelled, but does your local area have a weekly market that will be running during your shopping period? You’ll likely see some great finds and can treat yourself to a hot chocolate or mulled wine from a local vendor, too! 

When it comes to Christmas Day lunch, support your local farms and farmers by buying ingredients that are locally sourced –  don’t miss out on delicious local produce! 

Keep ‘em coming back for more 

This time of year we tend to be meeting friends and family for festive catch-ups from a tasty meal to a few drinks in your local. Rather than trying to secure them a gift you can wrap, why not treat them to dinner?

Many restaurants and bars are now offering gift cards, so friends can still treat each other to dinner. We think this is a lovely idea during a time when we really need something to look forward to.

Take it away, Chief! 

In order to diversify their business and keep themselves afloat, many food and beverage businesses have launched a takeaway service. If your local tearoom is offering a home delivery of an afternoon tea or a treat box, consider making a bit of fuss at home and making a festive day/night of it.

If your local pub has propped up a table from which they’re selling takeaway food and bottles of short-dated wine, consider dropping by to see what they have instead of nipping to Co-Op on your way home. 

Share the love

So you’ve found an amazing small business who has offered quick and friendly service with a wonderfully unique product. Now it’s time to shout about them! Share a positive review and photos where possible on social media. Tell your friends about your new discovery and help others find this small business!

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