Friday, December 05, 2008

Support local businesses this holiday season

It all started a few years ago in my sixteen-member nuclear family. The holidays were quickly approaching, and my step-mom had finally had enough. Shopping for her ten children and their significant others had become a nightmare. In this way, the Amazon Wish List was born. We were encouraged to put things on our Amazon lists that we wanted, and this way she knew we were getting exactly what we asked for, which would make everyone happy.

Sounds like a good idea, right? I must say, updating my wish list soon became an addicting hobby, particularly when Amazon has enough item categories to stock a small city. I began to feel like I did when I was a kid with the Sears Wishbook. Nothing was too small to be circled! Of course the ever staple, socks, made it on my list, but I also found myself trolling for things I didn't really need, like a complete Atari video game set that magically loaded onto your computer and a pair of painfully expensive designer boots. True, there were a few books on my list, but more often than not I found myself tempted by electronics and designer apparel.

This marks my fourth holiday season with my Amazon Wish List, and I'm beginning to wonder, what's missing here? Is this the future of shopping? It's no wonder that with sites like Amazon, small, independent stores are having a harder and harder time competing, especially in this economy. And it's families like mine that have the power to change that. So this season, before you drive out to the Jantzen Beach Target or go to Barnes and Noble for that book your loved one has to have, think about going to local bookstores or shops like Presents of Mind on Hawthorne or Twenty-Third Avenue Books in Northwest. Not only will you be keeping your money in your community, but you will be truly impacting the lives of your business-owning neighbors.

For more local holiday gift ideas and businesses, check out Eat.Shop.Portland by Kaie Wellman or the Willamette Week 2008 Gift Guide at

1 comment:

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