Holiday traditions require change

Economic and public health effects of pandemic necessitate modified gift-giving

Isabella Mason, Staff Columnist

It’s that time of year — everyone is perusing their favorite shops, buying gifts for their loved ones and themselves. The winter holidays are approaching with a bit over a month to spare, and most people have begun to think about what they’ll get for their family and friends and where they’ll get it. Of course, this year might look a little different than previous years have. Given the state of the nation — that of panic, fear and chaos — people may decide to stay in rather than go out this year, especially on days like Black Friday or weekends like those after Thanksgiving or right before Christmas. Still, there’s going to be quite the rush at stores like Best Buy and Target, as well as at malls across the country. That’s why I am writing this proposal: to urge you to shop small this year. I’ll make my case through a list of reasons, as stated below:

Small Businesses Need and Deserve Help

First of all, this year has been very hard on small businesses, and, for some large corporations, very good. I was just hired at Target for the holiday season, and it wasn’t because of my wealth of experience — they genuinely have the resources to spare to hire over 100 seasonal workers. And yet, small businesses, especially those with physical storefronts, are suffering.

People simply aren’t out shopping as much (for good reason), and because of that many small businesses have had to shut down, laying off employees whose income came from that tiny store you walk by but never enter.

When you buy a Walmart sweater, you’re not paying for the CEO’s groceries that week, or even the employees’. 

When you buy a sweater, handmade off of Etsy, you’re most definitely providing that small business owner that you bought from part of their rent, their energy bill or Hanukkah presents for their children.

 … Give back to small business owners who have been seriously affected by the global pandemic.”

It’s Handmade With Love

Okay, I’ll stop the whole holier-than-thou front, as if I don’t purchase things from big-name corporations all the time. I do. I also run a small crochet business on Instagram and Etsy, where I personally crochet every stitch of a stuffed animal, shirt or hat. It takes time and effort, as well as money. Being a small business owner is costly. 

Buying from small businesses stimulates the economy — again, when you purchase from a corporation, their employees’ pay does not go up. When you purchase from a small business, you are giving someone money to go out and purchase goods or services from other businesses. It’s a positive feedback cycle, good for you and the people you purchase from. 

Not only is it good for the economy, but most small business products are high-quality products because they are made with attention to detail. They’re unique, well-loved and original.

It’s Safer

This year, it’s going to be smart to purchase things online. Going to stores is dangerous, even if you are wearing a mask and washing your hands. Etsy is an online small business storefront, and while it may not always offer two-day shipping like Amazon, it’s convenient and available to anyone with internet access.

Of course, most times, Amazon products are cheaper than Etsy products, and I don’t want to discount that. But if you have the financial means to purchase handmade products this year, I encourage you to do so. It’s responsible in more ways than one.

This holiday season, give back to small business owners who have been seriously affected by the global pandemic. Do that by ordering your gifts and presents soon — purchasing from small businesses will require a longer wait time than going to the store or ordering Amazon products. Still, in turn for a longer wait time, you will be rewarded with more meaningful and oftentimes more beautiful products.

Protect yourself and protect your family and friends by shopping online and shopping small this holiday season.