Supply chain issues and shipping delays have meant many shoppers have begun the hunt for Christmas gifts even earlier than usual. Let’s hope that some of those issues at the national and global level will inspire us all to turn local. We’re just over a week out from “Small Business Saturday” so now’s the ideal time to strategize on how to best spend those holiday dollars in and around the communities where we live.

Besides being a convenient option due to current circumstances, shopping locally could be considered the gift that keeps on giving. According to a 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study from American Express—the creators of Small Business Saturday—every dollar spent at small businesses creates an additional 50 cents in local business activity as a result of employee spending and businesses purchasing local goods and services.

According to American Express, statistics show that consumers’ favorite small business destinations are independently owned bakeries, restaurants, bars and pubs. What’s easier than snagging a gift card to your or their favorite eatery?

This week and in issues to come, the Tri-City Times will be highlighting all the great local gift buying options with special adverstising.

Unless your pocketbook is unlimited, you can’t possibly support them all, but there are other ways you can give them a boost this holiday season. One of the suggestions from from the Lapeer County Community Foundation’s 25 Days of Kindness campaign was to leave a positive review on a local business’s website or social media account.

In addition to supporting local small businesses, consider local authors as well. Area historians, including those in Almont and Imlay City, have recently penned and published books about local history. Get a great gift and, at the same time, support efforts to further preserve that history.

A subscription to local publications, like the Tri-City Times and Woods-N-Water News, is another gift option that we can’t overlook mentioning either.

Other ways to “shop local” this holiday season include reaching out to students you may know who are selling things like poinsettias or fruit baskets as fundraisers. As has been tradition, craft and vendor shows are an easy way to support local artisans and other home-based entrepreneurs.

Whatever or however you shop for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other holiday in the coming weeks, consider directing more of your dollars to local businesses and do your part to keep the local economy strong.