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It’s that time of year

Look around before you finalize your Christmas list

Christmas is less than a month away and the holiday shopping frenzy has begun. Yes, this is another “shop local” pitch, but it’s also a realistic one. Some gifts can’t be purchased in one of our small towns, and sometimes bargains are too good to pass up. But local stores frequently have just the right gift at a competitive price.

Some stores are obvious places to start such as a toy, book or gift shop, but gifts can be found in unexpected places such as hardware stores, the local auto shop and grocery outlets. Or give your recipient a service such as a massage, a beauty treatment, or even a lube, oil and filter. Gift certificates to local restaurants or coffee houses also make appreciated gifts. The point is to think about the person you want to gift, and match them with something that could be secured locally.

Remember that it’s important to support our local merchants, restaurants and service providers. The dollars we spend in their shops are reinvested locally. It’s also a way for us to thank them for all that they do. Whenever there is a fundraiser for a school, an organization or an individual, it’s the local businesses that are approached first. The number of merchants has dwindled, but community need has not. So this year, as we prepare our Christmas lists, let’s think about the possibilities and shop local whenever possible.

Here’s a sample Christmas list with all gifts locally available:

Gym membership;

Gift certificates to: restaurants, hardware stores, bakeries, coffee shops, bookstores, local grocers, auto shops, drug stores;

Coffee mug with a pound of coffee or box of tea;

Tools;

Box of donuts, pastries or candies;

Bottle of olive oil or specialty sauce;

Latest bestseller;

Houseplant;

Gloves or mittens;

Cozy socks;

Movie or theater tickets;

Framed family photos.

Other ways to give

As we make our holiday lists, let’s not forget those in our county who need the basic necessities — food and warm clothing — or those whose families can’t afford to purchase presents for their children. Each of the communities holds coat and food drives and the sheriff’s department collects toys for youngsters. It’s also a good time to remember our local nonprofit organizations, churches and other groups that rely on donations to survive. And of course this year, our neighbors who fell victim to the Camp Fire could be added to our lists.

Yes, this is the season to give gifts. We encourage our readers to think not only about the gifts that can be put in a box and tied up with a festive ribbon, but the other types as well. With a little thoughtfulness, we can make this a truly joyous holiday season.

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