Shop locally for the holidays | AspenTimes.com

Shop locally for the holidays

Aspen, CO Colorado

Has anyone noticed that all of those Christmas songs about wrapped presents under the tree never mention how the gifts were purchased online, since shipping was free? The spirit of the holiday, as glorified in those familiar holiday tunes, seems to have more to do with spreading warmth and cheer in person, as opposed to hunching over a P.C., pointing and clicking into the wee hours during an exhausting search for the perfect gift.

We’ll spare you a speech about the perfect gift, and how it’s the thought that counts. The convenience of online shopping is certainly alluring, and we’ve done plenty of it ourselves.

But wouldn’t it be nice if all of us considered the benefits of supporting local commerce? The window-shopping, out-and-about-with-neighbors experience is certainly a major component of the traditional, Norman Rockwell Christmas.

And the Roaring Fork Valley, we’d like to point out, has enough small-town charm for several Christmases. Which is why we encourage residents to shop locally during the eight shopping days left before Christmas.

Supporting local retailers earns sales tax for our communities, which supports everything from road improvements to parks to snowplows. And during these difficult economic times, heading into the shops could help keep your favorite locally owned store in business, so you can shop there the rest of the year. People who support area stores (specifically stores they can walk or ride a bike to) also burn less fossil

fuel going out to shop.

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But we’re not going to get too picky about this. Even if you drive from Aspen to Glenwood Springs to pick out toys at Target, you’re still keeping your dollars in the valley and supporting a local workforce.

Last week, Basalt decorated its downtown with luminarias to attract downtown diners and shoppers. And on Saturday, Dec. 20, the city of Aspen is offering free parking in downtown metered spaces. A press release from the city mentions “more than 230 shops ranging from one-of-a-kind boutiques to haute couture fashion houses.” We all know that many of the items in these chic stores come with equally chic price tags. All the same, some staffers who were shopping recently noticed a number of sales meant to draw us in ” and it worked.

Quite frankly, as much as we love the UPS guy, finding a brown Amazon.com box on your doorstep doesn’t compare to buying a great gift from a local store owner who is working hard to keep your business. It’s especially important this winter, as businesses large and small struggle to stay afloat.

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