If you can, shop local this Christmas
This year has been incredibly challenging for small and independent businesses. With more areas across England going into the highest tier of Covid restrictions, many are reaching breaking point. The hospitality and retail sectors have been the worst affected by the pandemic, with the recent restrictions significantly impacting their ability to keep trading and stay afloat. Unable to keep their doors open, businesses simply can’t survive and during Christmas time, this is doubly worse. Although its essential that we do not gather in large crowds or overwhelm our high streets in large numbers, local businesses still depend on our custom and need us to shop local this Christmas.
It’s a really strange time, because on one hand we know we should limit our social interactions and avoid eating out and going shopping unless it’s essential, but on the other our high street is rapidly crumbling and has never needed us more. This Christmas we all have huge decisions to make – whether to see family, whether to go Christmas shopping or whether to just stay home and call the whole thing off. It’s not easy. But it is so important this Christmas, that when we do shop, we try our best to shop locally and support independent businesses whenever possible.
It is no secret that while most businesses have been severely affected by the pandemic, big corporations like Amazon and Netflix have seen profits skyrocket, capitalising on our new stay-at-home lifestyles. Although we all use Amazon – it’s pretty much essential this year - and enjoy the convenience it brings to our lives, now is the time to support the smaller businesses that are the heart of our communities and cannot survive without our loyalty.
If you can get out and do a bit of Christmas shopping, try and to buy local whenever possible. Many shops are helping us shop too, offering creative ways to buy without having to come in store such as online shopping or pick-up options. Social media has also played a vital role in businesses’ ability to communicate directly with customers, with many shops using platforms like Instagram to help customers navigate the logistical challenges of the pandemic. So do show your favourite local spots some love online!
However you decide to shop this Christmas, whether its online or in-person, on Amazon or on your local high street; this year is an important time to reflect on what your community means to you. Perhaps there is an independent clothes shop in your town that you’ve been going to for years, or a great book shop or a record store you love. Maybe you have a favourite coffee shop or bakery that does the best chocolate cake! These businesses are what make our communities, they are what make them special and allow them to thrive. If we don’t show them some love this Christmas, there is a good chance they won’t be here this time next year.
So if you can, even if it’s just for those last minute purchases - shop local.