Let’s Go Shopping! Support Small Business Day Nov 29.

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This may come off as biased but it really doesn’t matter.

I hate holiday shopping. Hate it.

The crowds, the false advertising, the relentless traffic…it all takes a toll after a while and over the years it’s become pretty senseless. Why beat yourself up over gifts that most folks will forget about within the next few months? Trust me, your husband will not be thinking of you and the suffering you went through on Black Friday while watching the Super Bowl and his new 70 inch flat screen. You can always get that flat screen any time of the year when there are probably better deals anyway.

If you want to do real holiday shopping, get a gift that is more meaningful and personal. Here are 7 mind-provoking reasons why you should switch it up this year.

Jobs!

With all the talk of unemployment, it’s easy to overlook how the support of small business can have a faster and direct impact on your neighborhood. It’s been seen time and time again that small businesses stimulate economic growth with one way being hiring those who may not be able to work at big corporations. The local taxes you pay at small business will be visible to you the consumer when that money goes to support local necessities such as firefighters and libraries. Don’t forget local schools as well.

Support the Economy

Whether you realize it or not, the mom and pop shops are the backbone of the U.S. economy. Sure, the big shot retailers bring the money in, but does it go back into the communities? Remember, they were once small shops too who needed your support. Having pride in your community should include supporting the local businesses. Whether it’s getting a bite to eat or doing your holiday shopping, it makes a big difference for your neighborhood. It brings a source of uniqueness and enhancement for your community. Remember, without a local economy there would be no large economy to talk about.

Less Stress

Crowded shopping malls and rude consumers can never be a good thing. Just looking for parking alone is bound to give you a headache. Traffic increases and everyone is just so irate this time of year. It’s sheer madness in my opinion. Keeping it local and visiting the neighborhood shops is much more rewarding and peaceful experience. You won’t have to worry about mysterious dents on your car, or engaging in a parking lot war if you choose the small business route.

Shop Smarter

You may have heard the term “work harder, not smarter”. Nothing could be more true when it comes to holiday shopping. There are tons of unique small businesses in neighborhoods across the globe. It’s a matter of you knowing who you’re shopping for and what they like. For example, is someone on your shopping list on a fitness kick? Well you can get them an app that pays them to workout. Gympact is an online business based in San Francisco, CA that helps folks get fit and stay fit. Is there a person who’s into funky clothes and tattoos? Check out Brightside Boutique and Tattoo in Baltimore, MD where one can rack up on a new wardrobe and flirt around with tattoo designs. They’ll love you for it!

Uniqueness Means a Better Gift

I remember in grade school around the holidays when the Christmas lists were submitted to parents to get the hottest items of the year. By the time winter vacation ended and it was time to go back to school, there was always one other person…with the same outfit as me. Everyone wanted and usually got the same toys and same jean jacket for Christmas. As an adult, that’s kind of tacky, isn’t it? With the exception of smart phones (I won’t even debate with that), why get what everyone else is getting. I would prefer to have something so unique that others would be just dumbfounded when they see it. “Where did you get that”? or “Wow, I’ve never seen that before” are phrases that are so sweet to hear at the office.

Yeah, the electronics are great and have decent sale prices this time of year, but you can always beat the crowds and order it online (for a much better price). Why not get a gift that has a little deeper meaning and can be more appreciative of the recipient?  A massage, a mustache maintenance kit and a tattoo are some unusual but unique gifts that will be awesome for the holiday season.

Way Better Customer Service…Way Better!

Aren’t you tired of dealing with the long lines, rude service and unqualified sales reps? These things just take all the joy out of the holiday season and dims any hint of a festive mood. The intimate, relaxed atmosphere of small businesses reminds us why giving is important. It also reminds us that being kind to others is one thing that wsill never go out of style, no matter how advanced technology gets. Great customer service is ALWAYS appreciated. Don’t you love it when you experience someone who’s actually paying attention to you and what you want?

Will you switch it up this year, or will you take the road that’s always traveled?

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