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Once more for those of you in the back: Buy/drink/shop local!

Shop small--our neighborhood stores depend on it. Photo: Tim Mossholder/Unsplash.

Every year, I exhort on one platform or another "Shop small. Drink local. Buy local."

We're all getting tired of the "at this unprecedented time..." posts, so I'll just be blunt: Shop small (especially) this holiday season. If we don't, those creative shops and artisans and makers won't be around next year. No kidding.

No numbers and statistics, folks. Just a plea: Support your neighborhood (and small online) businesses, whether they make beer, curate amazing thrifted clothes, or throw the nicest-looking clay pots you've seen in a while.

Screw Black Friday--observe what some towns call "Plaid Friday," during which small shops welcome shoppers who appreciate the non-madding-crowd vibe. Or get into Shop Small Saturday the following day--gather up your household and fan out to see and buy a few of the neato things that your fellow citizens have made and are happy to sell you.

Slap on your mask, go to your town center (or your virtual downtown), and actually buy stuff. Your local microbrew taproom? Fresh beer, often crafted with ingredients sourced or grown near you, and brewed by your neighbor. Buy some beer, a gift card, some stickers, and maybe a logo t-shirt.

Photo: Clem Onojeghuo/Unsplash

Local thrift store? Walk in and find one-of-a-kind items for sale, often curated by some of the coolest people you'll meet. Art gallery? Purchase a painting or a photo for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list. That interesting restaurant you've never been to? Buy a gift card for your friend the foodie and then buy another for yourself so you can do a tandem-takeout-dinner date over Zoom.

Since this is still a beer-themed blog, I'll link to a post a couple of years ago--whew, seems like decades ago--in which I muse about the benefits of patronizing your local taproom. I'll also link to one written an actual million years ago (2011) for a local online publication in which I hold forth about Drinking Day (the afternoon before Thanksgiving, a special holiday in Massachusetts) and how to celebrate the two days with your local brew.

I know you know all this. But it's more important this year to actually do it. So do it, please. If we all do a little bit, we can make sure that our local makers and shops are still around when spring comes.

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