Happy holidays! Even during a pandemic, there’s something inviting and exciting about this time of year. While your gift exchanges may look different than in past years, we’d argue that showing love through giving has never been more rewarding. When you can’t be physically close to someone, you can still show them you’re thinking of them by buying something you know they will love.
This year, we’re mindful of the many local small businesses facing hard times because of the pandemic. Susan’s family has deep roots in the retail industry, and she has seen how the support of loyal customers can make a difference.
So why not spend some of your hard-earned dollars with small businesses this year and keep your money in the community? The people you support may include your neighbors, your children’s friends from school, your best friend’s grandparents — and that’s a choice you can feel good about, during a year that presented so many challenges.
We’ve compiled a guide to supporting small businesses across Central PA this holiday season, but it’s not exhaustive. We’d love to hear about your favorites, too! Tag us on social media with your suggestions — you can find us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Restaurant Gift Certificates
Restaurant gift cards are a great way to support local businesses. You can give them to your child’s teachers, a hairdresser, mail deliverer or pastor—they’re an incredibly versatile, one-size-fits-all gift! We like to keep a few extra on hand just in case we forget to buy a present. Here are a few great restaurants to get you started:
Nothing says “I love you” like something sweet. If you need a gift for a parent, spouse or sibling, you really can’t go wrong with chocolates or a beautiful cake. Most people don’t buy indulgences for themselves, but they’re happy to dig in when someone else gives them the treat. Honestly, you may want to pick up something for your family, too, when you visit one of these master bakers or chocolatiers.
Coffee & Tea
You’ve weathered the pandemic with your co-workers, and now you want to celebrate with them, too. What better way than enjoying a coffee break together — in a safe, socially distant manner, of course.
You can give other members of your team coffee or tea from one of these excellent local shops. Some offer tastings before you purchase. Others you may have to guess the best selection, but with such great flavors, all these shops will deliver a memorable blend. You can also buy fun mugs and other coffee-related merchandise at some places.
Groceries, Farmers Markets & Novelties
You can discover fantastic and unexpected gifts at local specialty grocery stores. Buy a new-to-you infused olive oil, a package of fancy crackers and an exotic cheese, and you have an excellent present for anyone. Many grocery stores have fun extras, too, such as stationery or magazines. Often the flowers at these farmstand shops are gorgeous as well.
Breweries & Wineries
Have a brother-in-law who’s conducting a search for the world’s best IPA or a sister who loves her fruity wines? Beer or wine from a local source can complete their collection. You can get fun gear when you buy from local brewers and wineries, too, such as T-shirts or glasses/mugs.
We love our pets, and we love getting gifts that help us care for them — so we love to give these gifts, too! From toys for pets to play with to special baked treats, these shops have something for animals of every type to enjoy.
Toys, Books and Other Retail Shops
If you need a gift for a child, a local play store is your best bet. They have loads of creative gifts you’ve probably never heard of. You can often find signed copies of books at small independent shops—how cool is that to give away? And Central PA has many other fun shops to choose from, too.
Of course, our list could go on and on and on. There are tons of small businesses worth supporting in the area, and these are just a small fraction of them. Wherever you choose to buy, we hope you enjoy a safe and happy holiday season, filled with all the things you love.