This year I decided I would “buy local” for Christmas/holiday gifts as much as possible. I spent two weekends shopping locally before finishing the rest of my shopping at chain stores.
A few words about my shopping habits: I have given myself a tight personal spending allowance these past two years since cranking up my kid’s university savings. Therefore, I don’t shop recreationally anymore. That being said, over the years I had developed a great fondness for the independent merchants in my area, and I support them as much as possible when I do shop. On the weekends, my spouse and I often go to a local coffee shop, and I accompany him to his favourite comic shops where he spends his personal allowance! Other than that, lately I prefer to spend my $ on fine dining and concerts.
So this holiday season, I really enjoyed revisiting all of my favourite local shops. I bought something from 17 different independent retailers – 13 in downtown Halifax, and 4 in surrounding areas (including 2 in my own neighbourhood). Downtown shopping feels great – all the stores are in a walkable radius – assuming you can trek up and down our steep harbour-side hills! I hope someday you’ll spend a fine Fall afternoon shopping in downtown Halifax. It has a good combo of quirky, geeky, cheap, high-end, crafty, fashionable, artsy and cool shops!
I spent $1000 on gifts, for my immediate family of 2, and extended family of 10 more. We are not such a frugal crew when it comes to gift-giving. Everyone exchanges with everyone, rather than drawing names or making pacts not to exchange anymore. I think we all take a certain pride in finding quality gifts at reasonable costs. Full disclosure: I also gave 4 cash gifts.
The results were: 61% of my budget was spent at local independent retailers, 23% at Canadian-owned businesses, and 16% at other retailers. I bought a total of 71 items (this included stuffing 4 stockings), of which 33 were purchased locally, 24 from Canadian stores and 14 from international stores. Here’s the catch, though: only 6 items were actually produced locally! Next year I will set a goal to buy more locally-produced goods. I might also try more consumables – food, event tickets, and the like.
From my immediate and extended family, interestingly, I did receive a few locally purchased gifts, as well: handmade amigurumi, a wall clock made in New Brunswick, a seafood cookbook, a soy candle, a Domo toy, a Star Wars model, 2 card games, and a fluorescent vest from a safety supply company (for taking walks on winter nights!)
Now come browse the shops!