Avoid gift-giving monotony by shopping small

Patrons+of+Exile+on+Main+Street+shop+for+vinyl+records+on+April+13.

Kenyon Edmond

Patrons of Exile on Main Street shop for vinyl records on April 13.

By Ava Traverso, Special sections editor

Once the finals season is over and you can finally relax at home, it may seem that the rest of the holiday season will be nothing but smooth sailing. However, the holidays can offer more stress than school, and one of the largest sources tends to be gift-giving. Whether you waited too late to order online or have no idea where to start, shopping locally might be the solution to your stresses. Getting the perfect gift for your loved ones can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. Close that tab on Amazon and make sure to bundle up because you’re going shopping. 

Focus on the unique items

While it may seem like the easiest option to use the two-day prime shipping on Amazon, try to refrain from using sites like this one. Through my experiences of shopping locally, you are able to find unique and beautiful items that would be hard to find on regular websites or in chain stores such as Target or Walmart. For example, during my trip to Austin, Texas, in November, so many of the local shops had items from local artists and creators. Shopping locally can give you a great opportunity to break away from the monotony that can come with gift-giving and can additionally give you the opportunity to discover your new favorite creative. 

Give back to your community

One of the best reasons to shop at small businesses this gift-giving season is. When you shop locally, you are helping that community directly. When you buy an item from a family-owned business, your money is going toward more than lining a billionaire’s pockets. You are helping real people better their lives. You are helping parents pay for their child’s education. You are helping someone make their bills. You are helping someone buy a plane ticket to visit their family. The small act of doing something such as making a purchase, but on a local scale, can have a huge payback for a small business owner.

Not only does it help the owner, but the money given to these businesses can also give back to help the community. The taxes from your purchases go directly back into the town. That means you can help better the schools, the infrastructure, and the public works, other services that directly benefit you. Any angle you look at it from, shopping small can make a big impact

Become part of a personal experience

My personal experience with shopping small is that my parents own their own business. . The regulars who have come into our place for years have become something like family to my parents and the staff. Shopping small allows you to have a much more personal experience than if you were in a department store or shopping online. Being able to communicate with hardworking people who put their hearts into their businesses can be much more fulfilling than any other shopping medium. 

No matter where you hail from, there are likely to be plenty of stores in your hometown that can offer great gifts for everyone on your list. If you are from the Champaign-Urbana area or want to get your shopping done before the semester is through, there are tons of locally owned shops within the bus routes or walking distance of campus. Some places to start your quest include Jane Addams Book Shop, Dandelion Vintage and Bohemia, to name a few. There are many more small businesses within the C-U area I have not listed, so make sure to take a look. You might find your next favorite store.

Ava is a junior in ACES.

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