I’ve shopped online. I will admit, I’ve done it. It’s so easy; the one-click purchase sometimes proves too much to resist. I would have an idea in mind of what I wanted, do a quick Google search or look on Amazon and there it was.
I did a lot of holiday shopping in this way for many years. But in the last several years, I’ve made a conscious effort to adjust the manner in which I shop. I’m a list person, so writing the list of items I wanted to buy for loved ones came naturally. That habit got tossed out the window — at least in a way. My lists have become more broad. Rather than writing down a specific item, brand, etc., I write who I’m shopping for, not necessarily what items I seek.
For example, my mom wanted a new pair of slippers last year. I had a picture of the slippers in mind, and set out to find those slippers. As I trekked around the shops in Sheridan, I found myself disappointed that I couldn’t find the slippers I had dreamed up in my brain. But, I did find other slippers — plenty of other slippers. So as the day progressed I revisited stores I had stopped into earlier in the day.
This time, I took a different approach. I tried to erase the image of the slippers I had created and instead focus on the slippers available in the local stores. The options, once I opened my eyes to them, surprised me. I found myself torn between two pairs I thought my mom would love. I settled on a pair, forked over the money for them — which was slightly more than I would have paid online before shipping, but it was well worth the ability to touch and see them in person.
This year, as I see local retailers advertising Black Friday and holiday shopping specials, I’ve decided to toss my list completely out the window. Sure, I’ve asked loved ones what they’d like for Christmas, but only to get a general idea. I’ve decided to stroll through our town (yes, I did some of that at the Christmas Stroll on Friday), this holiday season to explore the options available. I’ll stop into stores and see if anything available strikes me as a perfect gift for those on my shopping list.
I’m a millennial — though that’s a label with which I struggle. I am tech savvy, but I also remember the time before cellphones and computers dominated our lives. I find shopping online easy and fulfilling. I also like to see and touch the items I consider purchasing. I still get a little uneasy when I purchase things online — will it really look like the picture?
I also understand the importance of supporting local businesses. After all, The Sheridan Press is a local business. I’ve heard the gripes about small-town stores and the frustrations of consumers. I’ve even complained some myself. I get it.
Much of that, though, has to do with preconceived notions and a lack of willingness to shop differently. I know the holidays aren’t all about presents. But, most of us will do some Christmas shopping. I hope you’ll consider not only where you shop, but how you shop. Consider shopping local.