This holiday season shop small, shop local, shop with a conscience | ParkRecord.com

This holiday season shop small, shop local, shop with a conscience

The Park Record editorial, Nov. 26-29, 2016

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These days you can do all of your holiday shopping without ever getting up from the couch. With just a click, or a swipe, it's done. No traffic, no lines at checkout, no wrapping or hectic trips to the post office.

But if that's not your style, all the merrier.

Most retailers rely on the holiday season to make or break their budget for the entire year and that means every dollar you spend carries a lot of weight. In many ways it is like your vote in a hotly contested election: where you spend your hard earned cash says a lot about what you care about.

One of the easiest ways to show support for your hometown is to shop with local merchants. Unlike online retailers, a portion of the sales taxes collected by local business owners comes back to the community to help pay off a variety of local initiatives. The Resort City and RAP tax revenues, for instance, fund a variety of arts and recreation projects and programs while new transportation and transit sales taxes will help support traffic mitigation projects in the future. Their commercial property tax rates also go a long way toward offsetting the lower rate paid by primary homeowners.

Local business proprietors are the ones who support countless nonprofits throughout the year by supplying all of those enticing auction items at local fundraisers and oftentimes opening their doors to host special events.

Shopping with them is your way of saying thanks.

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You can also use your discretionary income to swing a little political weight. Now is the time to show your support for merchants who offer earth-friendly products or run their businesses based on sustainable practices like recycling or energy conservation. Their efforts may not be the most cost-effective way to run a business but you can reward their decision to follow the high road by patronizing their establishments.

Shopping online may be efficient but it isn't likely to help you burn off those Thanksgiving calories. Start the holiday season off right by getting out of the house and perusing the creative collections offered by local retailers. The dollars you spend in your zip code will recirculate through your community for many years to come.

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