Think local for your holiday shopping

It hardly seems possible that Thanksgiving is already back upon us.

We know what happens now. We get through the holiday’s feast and spend some quality time with loved ones, and then there’s the annual month-long blur that takes place every year consisting of travel, parties and shopping before Christmas. We all tell ourselves to some extent that this year will be different.

This year, we’ll pass on a few holiday parties and catch our breaths. This year, we’ll stay away from the frenetic pace and just enjoy our families. This year, we’ll spread out the shopping chores instead of making a mad dash to the mall or box store.

Well, we always start out with good intentions.

We will agonize over shopping again this year because, well, we agonize over shopping every year. We pour through coupons and sale fliers. We muscle and elbow our way through the crowds. And we panic ourselves into a frenzy because we just can’t find that elusive “perfect gift” for somebody or another.

And we often miss the opportunities right before our collective face.

Those shops and stores that we pass every day during the routine tasks of our lives are filled with goods that would make outstanding presents. These are stores with unique individual personalities, and often filled with items that have a “local” feel to them.

Local restaurants also offer gift cards, which make excellent presents during the holidays. Think about the experience for people when they come to our area to visit — they hit the beach, visit local shops and eat at the tremendous local restaurants. If you have that relative in D.C. or Pennsylvania who comes to the beach every year, hit them up with a gift card from their favorite restaurant, a painting by one of our local artists that captures the area or a gift from a shop that you might know that relative loves to frequent when in town.

We are a special area for so many reasons — the beach, the rural landscape, the food, the schools, the relatively low crime, you name it. Part of the identity we have down here is the abundance of privately-owned shops and restaurants — each filled with character and personality that you don’t always get in some of the national businesses.

And they need our support. These are our businesses. They are part of the fabric of this community, and we need to offer them our support this holiday season.