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Shopping Small This Holiday Season

As I’m sure many of us are aware, the 2020 holiday season is likely going to look a lot different this year. Many of us will be shopping for gifts online in an attempt to limit our contact with others whilst still purchasing a gift, which will hopefully put some much-needed smiles on our loved ones’ faces. Unfortunately, this means that many of us will be turning to massive corporations such as Amazon. Whilst Amazon does have fantastic prices and quick turnaround times which are beneficial for last-minute shoppers, Amazon also has a detrimental environmental impact via excessive packaging and large carbon emissions from shipping, as well as a dismal treatment of many warehouse employees. Despite this, Amazon continually outsells small and local businesses. Whilst such local and small businesses can always use our support, they are especially in need of it during this pandemic, which has not only reduced their margins but their traffic as well. That is why, wherever possible, I am choosing to support these shops, both in-person and online, over large corporations, and would encourage you to consider doing the same. 

In light of the ongoing public health situation, many of us may want to support local but are not necessarily comfortable browsing and shopping in person, especially as cases continue to rise in this province and city. Fortunately, many local businesses are now offering online shopping, shipping across the country (and in many instances the World!), curbside pick up, and in some cases even free or very affordable delivery options. While these options may not seem as convenient or as quick as Amazon, particularly Amazon Prime, they are accessible, affordable ways in which you can support small businesses whilst limiting the spread of COVID-19. 

Shopping locally and small is also incredibly beneficial to the community. When you purchase from a small business, especially one that is local to you, you are contributing to the local economy--which could really use a boost after months of lockdown, deferred rent, and reduced foot traffic. Not only that, when you purchase from a small business, you are not only helping many of them pay their store’s rent and stay in business, but you are helping a community member put food on their table, buy their children school supplies, and live out their dream. If that isn’t a great reason to shop small and local, I don’t know what is.   

Hopefully, the above-stated reasons have convinced you to consider shopping small this upcoming holiday season, even if that’s in a limited capacity. If it has, you can find a few of my favorite small and local artisans and vendors for several popular gift categories linked below. 

Books:

Jewelry: 

Coffee, Tea & Mugs:

Home Decor & Plants:

Still in need of convincing? Or searching for more small or local shops to stop by or shop online? Check out my article on local gifts from last year HERE

 

Stephanie Shin

U Alberta '22

Stephanie Shin (she/her) is a third year honours pre-law student, majoring in sociology and minoring in political science. When she's not studying fervently, you can find her enjoying a book, sipping at a cup of tea, playing with her miniature dachshund, Bentley, and spending entirely too much money on food.
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