The recent Black Friday craze reminded everyone that the holiday is closely approaching. There seems to be a lot of chatter (in VT at least) around buying locally bought/handmade vs. the large box stores. Sure the box stores have greater price points, especially for things like electronics. However, the little mom and pop stores depend on the increase of sales between Nov/Dec to help their business thrive. They depend on consumer interest and loyalty in order to stay in business, so in my mind it’s crucial to point to consider when shopping. Sure it’s usually at a higher cost, but the great thing about purchasing locally is you can find a larger margin for unique/handmade items that set apart something everyone can find in a large box store. There’s something humbling about opening a gift that has been crafted by the hands of someone within your community. It adds much more authenticity that will be hard to find anywhere else. I would also argue that is makes for a better gift, because 9 out of 10 times it will be something that the receiver of a gift might have never seen/expected. As you’re shopping this holiday season, I would strongly encourage consumers to purchase at least one local gift when shopping for friends, family, and loved ones. I was recently in Bryant Park, NYC and found a great handcrafted ring, made by Alexandra Tukelturk, co-founder and co-owner of Grand Bazaar.