If pos­si­ble, shop at home this Christ­mas.

The Amherst News - - COVER STORY - Geo de Gannes Geo de Gannes is the past chair­man of the Tantra­mar Ra­dio So­ci­ety. His daily com­men­taries can be heard on 107.9 CFTA.

Many re­tail­ers have been chomp­ing at the bit for the start of an­other hol­i­day sea­son and the un­writ­ten rule for many busi­nesses in this part of the coun­try has been that you don’t start pulling out the dec­o­ra­tions un­til af­ter Re­mem­brance Day, out of re­spect for our vet­er­ans.

As has been the case though. in re­cent years, many of the national chains got the jump on the hol­i­day sea­son much ear­lier with tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials, dec­o­ra­tions, Christ­mas dis­plays and hol­i­day back­ground mu­sic.

In the case of the town of Amherst, the hol­i­day sea­son of­fi­cially ar­rives this week­end with this evening’s down­town lightup and Satur­day evening’s Santa Claus pa­rade.

We cer­tainly can’t ig­nore the eco­nomic im­pact of this time of year on our small busi­nesses and the im­por­tance of sup­port­ing these peo­ple who are also our friends and neigh­bors.

My com­ments are not meant to make those who are pre­par­ing for the an­nual shop­ping pil­grim­age to Bangor or Port­land Maine feel any sense of guilt.

As well there are many of us who will make the oc­ca­sional run to Monc­ton or Hal­i­fax dur­ing this time of year sim­ply for the change of scenery or for those items we don’t feel are avail­able lo­cally.

How­ever, there are so many rea­sons why it makes sense to spend our dol­lars here at home. These are par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult times for the small shop owner and many are ght­ing for their

nan­cial lives to keep their doors open amidst the pres­ence of the big box stores and the grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple who have taken to on­line shop­ping for many of their pur­chases.

Why not think out­side the box this year with your gift giv­ing, by pur­chas­ing goods and/or ser­vices that are lo­cally pro­duced? It could be any­thing from crafts to baked goods, mas­sages to car de­tail­ing, tness mem­ber­ships to restau­rant gift certi cates.

You could plan your hol­i­day out­ings at lo­cal, owner-op­er­ated restau­rants and leave your server a nice tip. How about go­ing out to see a play or con­cert staged by one of our churches, schools or the­atre groups?

De­spite what the skep­tics might say, this com­mu­nity of­fers a wide va­ri­ety of prod­ucts and ser­vices and a unique shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence that even draws shop­pers from some of the larger mar­kets like Monc­ton or Hal­i­fax.

Sim­i­larly, across the bor­der in Sackville, mer­chants have par­tic­i­pated in a highly suc­cess­ful Mid­night Mad­ness pro­mo­tion in an e ort to stem the ow of area shop­pers to Monc­ton.

is Christ­mas sea­son, why not show we care about the sus­tain­abil­ity of our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties by en­cour­ag­ing and sup­port­ing our small busi­nesses.

e bene ts will come back to us in ways we couldn’t imag­ine. Con­sider, for ex­am­ple, the re­cip­ro­cal im­pact of sup­port­ing the lo­cal re­tailer who in turn gives back to the com­mu­nity by spon­sor­ing mi­nor hockey teams or sup­port­ing our health care fa­cil­i­ties.

I of­ten­times like to re­fer to a slo­gan I be­lieve aptly ap­plies in this sit­u­a­tion: “is is the new, ‘Cana­dian Christ­mas tra­di­tion’ Buy lo­cal this Christ­mas - e job you save might be your own.”

“Why not think out­side the box this year with your gift giv­ing, by pur­chas­ing goods and/or ser­vices that are lo­cally pro­duced? It could be any­thing from crafts to baked goods, mas­sages to car de­tail­ing, tness mem­ber­ships to restau­rant gift certi cates.”

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