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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The holiday season can be overwhelming, and trying to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones can be tough. Malls tend to be flooded during the holiday season with people scrambling to get gifts. Online shopping has also been a utilized more for the holiday season, especially after the pandemic.

After a long mall trip or endless scrolling online, I am starting to notice how hard it is to find that “perfect” gift. Instead of just purchasing something random that your loved one may not even need or will end up returning, check out some of your local businesses! I’m sure if you do the right research, you’ll find some unique, local businesses in your area.

Shopping local is beneficial to the environment and the economy. One of the major benefits is that the gift is less likely to be returned. A big issue in our current society is people buying mass amounts of gifts online that do not end up being utilized or end up being returned. Most of the time, returned gifts go to waste and harm our environment more. Shopping local will show that you’re a thoughtful gift-giver while also contributing to creative entrepreneurs in your area.

Local businesses sell unique items that are typically handmade and created with love and care. By contributing to local businesses you are helping them keep their doors open and increasing their overall business well-being. Typical shopping chains don’t seem to be going anywhere, so scout your area and stop into a new small business!

If you’re not comfortable being out with the crowds this season, try shopping small online! There are many Etsy shops that create one-of-a-kind items for gift-giving. Small business owners also tend to promote their products and services on TikTok, which is how I discovered many amazing small businesses.

Brianna is a Communications major with a focus on Media Studies and a double minor in Journalism & Public Relations. Writing is one of her many passions and she is excited to be a member of the Her Campus community.