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Gift Local

Keep last-minute shopping near

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Let's imagine this holiday gift-giving worst case scenario: Like any Covid-fearing citizen, you've remained quarantined, stayed home and done all your gift shopping online. And then the alerts start blowing up your phone—"Your Delivery is Delayed!" Ack!

Thanks to the surge in online shopping there's an overwhelming amount of shipping occuring this season. Perhaps you've seen the plethora of rental vans in your neighborhood recently? Those are auxiliary vehicles rented by shipping companies to help with the overflow of packages to be delivered—or not delivered, as the case may be. So what do you do when it turns out items on your carefully curated gift list won't arrive until 2021? The answer is simple: Shop local!

Like the mantra of local commerce organizations, the two-word slogan is not just a civically-minded nudge (or, depending on the punctuation and condition of your local economy, a command), it's the solution you need when the the big e-tailers get Grinchy with their delivery systems.

Currently, in California, non-essential retailers are allowed to remain open and sell their wares at 20 percent capacity. Though this will certainly discourage some shoppers, those in need of last-minute holiday gift solutions can still shop. Obviously, safety precautions need to be abided by—wear your mask and make sure it's OVER your nose, maintain a social distance of six feet and wash your hands frequently. There will occasionally be longer lines to get in and to get checked out so download a podcast to keep yourself chillaxed during the wait time. Most retailers are happy to have your business and will work with you to get you what you need as easily as possible, but patience is a very necessary virtue.

However, if you're understandably squeamish about venturing into the world right now, many local retailers support online sales from their own websites. Likewise, a solution many local businesses offer are gift cards, which can be mailed or picked up curbside. You can often even download and print them yourself and tuck them into a holiday card for added personal touch.

Similarly, consider searching services like Etsy for your city, which will provide a list of local artists who produce artisanal gifts with the added benefit of short shipping times.

The average American plans to spend $998 this winter holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. Keeping as many of those dollars as local as possible preserves local jobs and supports your community as a whole. Supporting local artists and mom-and-pop retailers keeps your money working with your local economy, which is truly a gift that keeps on giving.