I'm sure you've heard it a million times: we all need to support small businesses when and where we can this holiday season. We're at the end of a horrific fiscal year for many small businesses, and if we want them to survive, we must take part in helping them help themselves by spending at least a portion of our Christmas budgets there.

This could make shopping small seem like a chore or an obligation, when in fact, it is a great joy.

This Saturday, I visited two of my very favorite local retailers: Ralph's Records (3322 82nd Street) and Star Comics (3504 34th Street). Instead of the tedium of scrolling through pages of products, I found what I wanted quickly and easily. Instead of sending my money off into a void, I handed it to a friend whose name I know and who knows my name. I interacted with a fellow human from my area that has the ability to learn my interests over time and make meaningful recommendations to me, not some nonsense algorithm suggesting products I don't want or even find distasteful. An algorithm might be able to track my habits, but it can never understand my soul.

Not comfortable going into any stores right now? Both Ralph's Records and Star Comics offer curbside if you call them. By the way, if you order from a major retailer right now for Christmas, good luck getting it in on time even if they offer free expedited shipping. You're competing with hundreds of thousands of other packages right now. Getting your gift in hand guarantees your gift in time for the big day.

Additionally, spending locally positively and directly affects our local economy. When money is spent with a huge corporation, that money tends to be hoarded up into unimaginable wealth for a few individuals. This stops the velocity of that money, and that negatively affects normal people like you and me.

For example, had I ordered my items on Amazon, that money would have likely lined Jeff Bezos' pockets. But since I spent it locally, the people who own and work at that store will likely spend that money locally as well, quite possibly on a product or service that you supply. And you will likely spend that money here as well, and so and so forth.

Even if your budget is small or some of your gifts are only available online, please, for all our sake, treat yourself to the joy of shopping locally.

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