10 good reasons to shop locally in the New Forest this Christmas.

Support your local, independent shops and businesses in Lymington and New Forest.

Christmas in Quay Street Lymington

Many of us dread this time of year. Unless you're the most organised person on earth and have done your Christmas shopping by Halloween, the sudden realisation that we are only a few weeks from Christmas Day can send us into a flat spin.

Luckily we live in an area with many independent businesses and shops and it is easy to find local gifts - especially if you think out of the box a little.

Listed below are 10 good reasons why we should support our local businesses this Christmas. And next week we'll bring you our Guide to Christmas Gifts in the New Forest - there are some fantastic original ideas that you might not have considered before!

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1. Shopping locally is a lot less stressful

Shopping locally is much nicer than battling the Christmas crowds at a large shopping complex. Shopping locally removes the stress of city one-way systems, car park queues and playing human dodgems. It also removes the pressure of waiting at home for that 'it-should have-arrived-two-days-ago' gift ordered online!

2. Your spending will boost the local New Forest economy

Vinegar Hill Pottery

Research on spending by local authorities shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business. Small businesses are vital for national economic recovery and growth, and are leading the way in innovation and new job creation. They serve the needs of the local economy and many provide services to larger businesses, helping your local community and beyond!

High streets populated with thriving independent businesses boost the prices of nearby homes, according to a recent American Express study. House prices near a prosperous town centre have risen by an average of £40,000 more over the past decade than other properties.

By spending money with local businesses you are paying a friend or neighbour's salary. Small Businesses integrate into the local community and tailor their services and products accordingly - therefore it is unlikely that a small business is going to move to a different city or country, therefore keeping jobs in your community.

3. Shopping locally is the ethical choice

hand body set from New Forest Aromatics

When you shop at your local butchers, bakers, farm shops and green grocers, it is likely that a high percentage of the produce has had a short 'field-to-fork' journey. Along with supporting local farmers, it means the food is likely to contain more nutrients and have less packaging.

Our local Transition Lymington group have a number of ideas how to make your Christmas more sustainable and they challenge us to make December different this year (find out more here).

4. You’ll be supporting local entrepreneurs

Local independent shops often sell locally-produced items which aren't available elsewhere: quirky one-off items, often by local artists and designers, food producers and growers, so you're buying products absolutely unique to the area. This helps preserve the community’s distinction and creates more jobs locally, as well.

Starboard Home on Quay Hill Lymington5. You'll find unique gifts

Independent shops have shopped around, selected an inventory of products and brought them to your doorstep. This often includes items you might not find at national chain stores.

If you’re struggling to find that unique gift, the chances are that the shop assistant can go above and beyond to help you make the right choice, and you can almost guarantee that no one else will have bought the same!

6. You’re likely to get better service

Local business owners do what they do because they are passionate about their products and typically take more time to get to know their customers. They’ll often go the extra mile to help you and to ensure you’re a satisfied customer.

7. You can get good advice

Shopping at a local business means you’re more likely get an expert opinion about the products that you’re purchasing. Local business owners are well informed about their products and know what they are selling. They have to be experts in their field to compete. Ask them questions and get advice about products.

8. You can help build communities

Great selection and expert advice at Priory WinesLocal businesses often host events, from charity spin-a-thons to craft workshops with local artists. Christmas fairs and craft markets often include local voluntary organisations and charities. Take a look at our summary of local Christmas events taking place this year!

And see Christmas Events in our Events Calendar for more details too!

9. You can get a good deal

It's a well known fact that many larger shops 'jump on the bandwagon' at this time of year with 'black Friday offers' that might not be the great value suggested. In our local high streets, many independent retailers are retaliating this year with real pre-Christmas promotions - and it's well worth taking a look!

escape yachting sailaway lymington aboard 19 600x400

Furthermore, independent retailers can use their discretion to reward regular custom, and it can mean you get discounts on the items you actually want to buy, rather than being tempted by multi-buy offers in the big chains. It is very likely that businesses will be doing special promotions and discounts; therefore you could save some money AND support your local traders at the same time! Prices on the internet are not always the cheapest - especially as Christmas Day approaches. What’s more, you’ll not have to pay for postage.

10. You can find ‘something completely different’

Away from the High Street and shops, there are lots of local businesses offering something completely different this year. From stand up paddle boarding lessons to pottery courses, consider giving an original gift that supports a local business.

Napoleon once called us “a nation of shopkeepers” hoping to insult us. However its a big part of our national identity and is something to be proud of.  Small businesses have endured the Blitz, 3 day weeks and more recent economic down turns and despite these hardships they continue to innovate, grow and assume ‘business as usual’. Let's avoid having a ‘clone street’ with the same shops as everywhere else and support our local businesses in the New Forest this Christmas!

Christmas lights will illuminate 'Black Friday'! Free parking in Lymington on Friday 29 November

We really are fortunate in Lymington to have a great range of small, independent shops who stock a brilliant range of products at highly reasonable prices. Let us all support them in the run up to Christmas!