The holiday challenge, shop local |

The holiday challenge, shop local

by Reid Armstrong
Grand County, CO Colorado

Brace yourselves. It’s not even Halloween and I’m about to talk Christmas. Ugh. I hate Christmas.

Take the Babe in a Manger stuff away and I’m just a Grinch. Decorating is not my thing. Neither is cooking. Or wrapping. Same goes for wearing holiday-themed apparel and filling cookie tins.

And shopping … well that’s the worst part of it all. In my family, wish lists fly back and forth, and what I receive versus what I can give are forever unbalanced. It’s a terrible feeling.

OK, sure, some of the seasonal tunes are pretty catchy, and I love trudging deep into the forest in search of the perfect tree – the likes of which exist only in the hardware store parking lot. And the whole Fat Man/Chimney thing is downright fun.

So, I’ve thought of a way to bring some added enjoyment to the whole thing this year. For the first time in more than 35 years, my parents are leaving home for Christmas. The whole family – Texas, Virginia and California – are headed here to Grand County.

To celebrate, I’ve challenged myself this holiday season to ONLY SHOP LOCAL. I’m going to toss out “The List” and hit the pavement right here in Grand County.

I vow not to buy one single Christmas present this year east of Moffat Tunnel or south of Green Mountain Reservoir. Not even over the Internet.

OK, so some of the nephews will end up with moose print T-shirts and pajamas. Toys will be purchased at the hardware store and discount shops. I might even Christmas shop at the grocery stores.

The outdoor gear shops will see a lot of me- I’ve got my eye on some little-kid-sized Camelbacks and Smartwool socks – as will the museums with all their books and ornaments and the coffee shops with their gourmet tea, mugs and books.

And OMG the gift shops with their jewelry, scarves and hats – hold me back.

Why am I doing this? Well, for one, a recent study by researcher Linda Venturoni of Dillon finds that shopping locally builds a better sense-of-community. (The 16 page paper can be found online at Venturoni concludes that in places where people leave town to buy their socks, shoes and … yes, Christmas presents, those towns tend to have a lower sense of community, according to ratings from the residents themselves.

Shopping locally not only helps locally owned businesses, but – even when it supports a national chain – the sales tax dollars stay local and help keep and create jobs here in the county.

Shopping locally cuts down on my gas and the use of my credit card. It cuts down on wasted packaging from online orders.

We need to bring it all back home. We’re all too wrapped up in what’s happening across the country and world – things we can’t do very much about. We need to get involved in our local governments, shop at our local stores and support our local community organizations FIRST.

Also this year, I’m going to vow to give something back – a gift or action, however small, for somebody worse off than myself. Because there’s always somebody. I am always so strapped at the holidays, I’ve never really been able to give any more. But, maybe the good karma I put out by doing that will give me the fuel-injected boost I need to make it through the year ahead.

BTW, I don’t just pick on Xmas. I’m not a huge Halloween fan either. Ditto to New Year’s and Valentine’s Day.

Just in case you think I’m a total Humbug, let me clarify – I absolutely adore President’s Day Weekend. Skiing and sales. What’s not to like?

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