The Impact of ‘Going Local’ this Autumn
Despite my very best efforts, I am very aware that the ‘C’ word is already all around us. Each year I try to hold onto Autumn, Halloween & Bonfire Night before I attend to the biggest festival of the year. However, I am a realist and I understand retail and I know that for many small businesses, this is the make or break season and it is so important to make star dust while the Christmas tree glows. I have to admit to not losing sleep over the big corporates, who frankly seem to have their festive season in the bag.
To quote the amazing Totally Locally movement in our local town of Leek, “If every person in the Leek area spent just £5 per week in their local independent shops, instead of online or at the big supermarkets, it would be worth an extra £4.1 million a year going into the local economy. Which means more jobs, better facilities & a nicer place for us all to live. Makes you think doesn’t it?”
There isn’t anything that is more powerful than that is there? Given that we all spend far more than £5 a week in the run up to Christmas, the impact for our local people, places and towns is simply crucial.
So, you ask, how you do Christmas locally when you have a tight budget? How do you get all your gifts locally when you know that the big online stores discount so heavily? I think it about moderation. It is about sitting back and thinking really carefully about the magic of Christmas….which is all about the experience not the stuff. The things we remember are when you accidentally burnt the Turkey; when the kitten ran up the Christmas tree; the year that the Christmas tree was bald before Santa even arrived; when your friend turned up at the pub when you least expected it; when you had a tiny table to fit 10 people round….one tends not to remember all the gifts you got in any particular year.
I am not preaching here, but limit the essentials that you have to get from the big online store beginning with ‘A’ & then enjoy the process of creativity as you find & buy unique, special, thoughtful, artisan gifts for your loved ones. The gifts might be smaller because you are paying a little more for that special, unique, locally made, artisan gift but the love it brings with it can’t be beaten. Along the way you will fill the pockets of amazing local retailers who have got to struggle through January & February, when we are all skint; you will make new friends as they carefully wrap your special gift and you will have a story for your loved one as they open their present…creating a Christmas experience that hangs around for years.
So make 2016 the year when you go local more than any previous year and support your local treasures all around…..and start with our handpicked members…..