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With the holiday season out in full force, it is time to begin shopping for gifts for our loved ones as we head into the month of December. While it may seem easy to order everything online from Amazon or Wal-Mart, going out to local shops has an even greater benefit not only in the gift being given but also to the person who made it.

When shopping, people are supporting the local economy and enabling those small business owners the opportunity to not only grow their own business but also use those funds to support other local businesses. Another benefit of shopping local is that typically the items purchased are hand made and show loved ones that we actually put in effort in choosing their gift versus ordering something online.

I have always believed that shopping local is not only a great way in finding that unique gift but also discovering the hidden gems that are located in my community. These small businesses thrive during this time of year and it is with movements like Small Business Saturday and people spreading that information by word of mouth to those they encounter.

On top of supporting small businesses, we also get to see how unique our community can be. We always wonder what sorts of talents our neighbors may have and it is typically something that remains a mystery our whole lives. However, buying these products makes us feel more connected with our community and recognize that people have some amazing talents that need to be shown to others.

When you purchase a handmade gift it not only shows the expert skill used by the business owner or artisan but it shows the diversity in our own community. This can range from homemade chocolates to hand crafted candles. It just goes to show that when we shop local we find the hidden gems of our community and find the gifts that mean that much more to the ones we love.

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