In the age of internet shopping, it’s easy to do all your holiday gifting with the click of a button. Resist that temptation.
Holiday shopping is about so much more than just procuring a list of required gifts. It’s a chance to support locally owned businesses, experience shopping districts, discover new favorites, meet local shop owners and have fun with friends. The trick is to plan ahead and give yourself enough time to thoroughly enjoy the experience.
1. Don’t go alone.
Make it a celebration by going with friends. Seriously, we guarantee you’ll have more fun together than shopping online or in-store alone.
2. Map it out.
As a group, plan a strategy for getting specific shopping needs accomplished while enjoying each other’s company. Before you go, know what stores you plan to visit and who you hope to shop for at each store.
3. Keep it Local.
Focus on exploring a collection of stores in close proximity to one another, such as those in and near Wildwood’s Town Center, Eureka’s Old Town, along Manchester Road from Ellisville to Des Peres, or throughout Chesterfield.
4. Avoid the ‘big box’.
The whole point of shopping local is getting to know local businesses and discovering new favorites. Never been to that cute boutique you pass on your way to the grocery store? Now is the time to check it out.
5. Be inspired.
Take cues from your friends and local business owners as to what might make a perfect gift, especially for hard-to-shop for individuals on your list.
6. Be sure to eat.
You can’t shop on an empty stomach. Make sure you stop for food and drink along the way. And, dress appropriately, including wearing comfortable shoes.
7. Indulge in holiday delights.
Whether it means sampling seasonal treats or simply enjoying the sights and sounds of the season, be sure to stop and appreciate the effort local shopkeepers and restauranteurs have taken to capture the spirit of the season.
8. Let them wrap it.
Many smaller retailers offer to remove price tags [hint: they’re better at it than you are] and wrap gifts. Let them. You can always add custom touches at home, but having gifts wrapped moments after buying them will allow more time to enjoy the season down the road.
9. Choose gift cards wisely.
Remember, that well-chosen gift cards do make excellent presents, especially for people whose tastes and preferences you may not be familiar with but whom you want to celebrate. Consider your child’s teacher. The temptation is to pop into a local big box store and pick up a scented candle or a trio of lotions or order something. Resist that urge! Seriously, how many scented candles and bottles of lotion can one teacher use? Instead, consider using that same $15 to purchase a gift certificate from a local restaurant or bakery. Or purchase a movie gift card to provide a much needed break from grading papers. Or consider a gift certificate to a local boutique where countless fun items may be found.
10. Repeat the fun.
Don’t try to get all your shopping done in one trip. Plan several shopping trips: one with your friends, one with your spouse, one with the kids – you get the idea. No two experiences will be the same, we assure you. Perhaps you’ll enjoy lunch with friends, dinner with your husband, a visit with Santa with the kids. When all is said and done, you should be able to check shopping off your list along with a few holiday-themed experiences, which is not something you can do on the internet.