10 good reasons to shop locally this Christmas.
Support your local, independent shops and businesses in Lymington and New Forest.
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 take a look at our Guide to Christmas Gifts available locally - there are some fantastic original ideas that you might not have considered before!
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
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.
3. Shopping locally is the ethical choice
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.
5. 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.
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
Local 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!
9. You can get a good deal
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 nights away on a boat, to stand up paddle boarding lessons, 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!
Free parking on Small Business Saturday: 1st December
Saturday 1st December is Small Business Saturday. This annual government-backed national campaign highlights our wonderful local, small businesses. NFDC town carparks will be free of charge all day. Car parks will also be free of charge on 23 and 24 December to encourage Christmas shoppers to stay local and support the New Forest's many independent businesses, producers and artisans.
Councillor Heron said: "By offering free parking in our car parks on four days in the run up to the festive period, we are aiming to encourage residents and visitors to make the most of the wide range of quality, independent retailers and makers that we have in our district. This is one of the ways the council, and consumers, can continue to support a vibrant, resilient local economy."
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!
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