It’s beginning to seep into national awareness that independent, locally based businesses might serve their communities better than identikit chain stores with obscure agendas.
With the destructive competition these small enterprises face from multinationals, the few that still populate the High Street need your support. It’s estimated that around £40 billion will be spent on Xmas in the UK this year; over £750 per household.
Spent locally, remaining in your area instead of instantly vanishing into a remote Head Office, this money could bring about a serious increase in prosperity.
Take a long tea break to think about this, and plan your holiday spending. Shopping in the scattered local outlets will take longer than a trolley dash. Spread it over a few weeks. Be organised so you don’t buy something twice in the last minute rush.
Set a budget for presents. See what you can find at craft fairs. Socks, especially good hand made ones, are underrated. Bath products are often welcome. Of course you’ll be able to buy more industrially produced items for the same money. Quality is the point here. It’s a gift; it’s the thought that counts not the weight.
Traditional crafts are struggling to stay alive, despite their key role in a resilient society. The few people who persevere have to price their goods at the luxury end of the market to compete with factories. They need your custom more than the supermarkets do, and give far more back. Choose your loyalties.
Half of the total Xmas spend is on gifts. In Somerset alone, this comes to over £80 million, the same as a quarter of the annual County budget. Another third is spent on food and drink.
Write a shopping list. There’s plenty of food you could buy well in advance. Farm shops often sell chutneys, jams and pickles. Xmas cakes keep for weeks and are often on sale at markets. Consider making your own mince pies.
The best way to buy your Xmas dinner is to order fresh locally reared organic meat from the independent butcher. If you’ve never done this before, consider there may be a bit of a queue on collection day. Bring an umbrella, a newspaper, be prepared to chat to people, live a little slower.
Spend your Xmas surrounded by food, drink and gifts which that have meaning, not just labels. Start planning now!