Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Joining Hands for a Better World: 12.17.13

On December 3, I set out on a pre-Christmas challenge — to post a tip a day we can collectively follow with the goal of making the world a better place. 

Today’s suggestion: Do Some of Your Holiday Shopping Locally

It’s another snow day in New Haven, CT, a city where snow often doesn’t make its first appearance until the New Year.

Today’s treacherous road conditions forced many procrastinators to change their holiday shopping plans. I am sure many turned to Amazon. But others ventured out in the snow to explore what was downtown. Judging from the filled shopping bags I spotted during an excursion to the bank, many of them discovered just how much their local shops have to offer.

That was our experience on Saturday, the first of the snow days. We spent a bit more than we would have at the mall, but we received excellent service from an attentive clerk, who then boxed and gift-wrapped our items, and offered us Christmas cookies [sorry, where has to be a secret for now]! We strolled past shop windows decorated with white paper cut-outs, enjoyed a sandwich and coffee at Woodland Coffee & Tea, and a cookie and coffee at Maison Mathis when our shopping was done. We also had the pleasure of using our own calories rather than the gas in the car.  

There are a number of other very good reasons for shopping locally— from supporting business owners who are your neighbors and fellow taxpayers to building community. Perhaps the most compelling reason comes from an economic study conducted in Portland, Maine in 2011. Researchers found that every $100 spent in locally owned business contributed and additional $58 to the economy of Portland. In contrast, only $33 was returned to the local economy for each $100 spent in a chain store.

That’s it for today. “See you tomorrow.” 

“All together now,” as the Beatles once sang. Let’s see how much good we can do over the next few weeks.

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