Shopping for your city this holiday season

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99.7% of all businesses in the United States are small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration. Photo by Annabelle Nicholas

As we approach the holiday season and scramble to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones, I think that it’s important to consider where we buy our gifts from.

It is no surprise that retail giants like Amazon dominate the gift-giving market, and that says a lot about the world in which we live.

The Small Business Administration stated that the 28.8 million businesses in the United States account for 99.7% of all businesses in the country, and accounted for 64% of new jobs between 1993 and 2011.

Despite appearing as such a powerhouse, small businesses can be easily looked over during the holiday season. In a world that is jaded by instant gratification, it’s the easiest decision to make when we prioritize convenience.

This sentiment is not a dig at anyone who has ever purchased something from Amazon — I would be digging at myself — but when other local businesses exist, why settle for something that’s just convenient?

I have never been a fan of shopping malls because of the environment, but I love going to farmer’s markets and outlets. After a while, I started to wonder why I preferred one over the other. I think it is this: I love meeting the people who make what I buy.

While there is nothing wrong with buying things from Amazon or other major retailers, there is something to be said about the lack of humanity and holiness surrounding this process.

Today, it’s very common to see people fighting over gifts in the middle of a store, heckling for prices and even treating employees with disrespect.

Showing gratitude for someone you love through gift-giving should be a good thing and a positive process to go through, not centered around the negativity that comes from huge Black Friday sales or the instant gratification of online purchases.

Earlier this month, I came across an Instagram post from a small business in my hometown called “Made In Corpus Christi,” which produces small gifts and souvenirs that are made in Corpus Christi, Texas.

In the post, owner Nikki Riojas shared that the phrase, “Every time you buy from a small business, the owner does a happy dance,” did not make her do a happy dance.

Instead, Riojas suggested that we start using the phrase, “Every time you buy from a small business, you create tax revenue that funds things like roads and schools; you help add new local jobs; and contribute to the overall well-being of our economy.”

A civic economic study in Grand Rapids, Michigan shared that for every $100 spent at a local business, $63 stays within the local economy, while only $43 stays in your local economy when purchasing from a larger business.

Whenever you buy from a small business, you don’t only support a person’s livelihood. Rather, you support your city’s livelihood. I love all the quirks about my hometown and am proud to be from there, and I have also enjoyed the Dallas/Irving area that I reside in now.

Purchasing from small businesses shows your care for your community and what happens to it. If you want something about it to change, you can drive that passion through the small act of purchasing from local businesses.

If you want more support to be given to individuals, you can do that through the small act of purchasing from local businesses. If you want to keep beauty alive in your city, you can show that you appreciate the beautiful things that it produces and the beautiful people who occupy it.

This holiday season, I hope that you are inspired to shop for your city as well as for your loved ones.

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