Buying Local This Holiday Season

Surprise, surprise! The holiday season is right around the corner, and although it may be too early to start to playing the holiday music at the office, it is never too early to start thinking about creative and thoughtful gifts to buy your loved ones.

Rather than going down the traditional shopping path of purchasing generic gift cards that inevitably feel a little impersonal, try casting your eye towards the gift ideas found within your own community—items handcrafted by local artists and crafters in your area. With this approach, you can find some really unique gifts that the person you’re shopping for probably does not already own or—at the very least—that they don’t have other ones quite like.

Handmade gifts and local art ranging from aprons, bags and baskets, candles, ceramics, jewelry, soaps and fragrances, and assorted gift bags make excellent and meaningful holiday gifts, particularly when they have a special flare that only that particular artist can give them. As a bonus, getting a unique gift like this can be a gesture that lets your loved ones know that some thought and care has gone into their present.

Not to mention that doing our holiday shopping locally means you are supporting your local artists and crafters, which not only facilitates a sense of community, but also fosters local prosperity. Invest your money back into your community rather than putting it towards the generic, big box stores. Choosing to shop local also helps alleviate a large toll on our environment by cutting down the effects of packaging and transportation.

In addition to all of these benefits, arts and craft shows can be unique and fun venues to get a start on your holiday gift lists, and a lot of them offer refreshments and free admission. You can turn it into an outing for the entire family or for a group of your friends. Going to one of these shows is essentially like going to the mall, but in this case, when you find something you absolutely love, you get to meet the person who made it and make their day as well by telling them how much you like their work.

As we move closer and closer to the holiday season, break out of the mold and go out there to support all of the wonderful and hard working local artists and craftsmen that your community has to offer. Make a visit to Artists and Craftsmen of the Flathead’s Christmas At The Fairgrounds in Kalispell, MT, where you can see tons of pop-up shops featuring handmade offerings from local artists.