How to Have A Very Local Holiday Season

We highlight 5 cities across the US with local, shop small efforts to embrace and support this season.
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Deck The Halls: 8 Holiday Décor Ideas

Image Credit: Le Fork

Look, friends: we love the Internet around here. For everything from connecting with likeminded souls to discovering fair trade favorites, the web is a fantastic resource. However, there’s nothing quite like the power of in-person interaction—especially during the season of togetherness we’re entering. We know how tempting the big box and online sales can be (we’ve been there and done that), but this year we’re sticking a little closer to home when it comes to holiday shopping.

Cities across the nation seem to have fully embraced handmade pop-up shops, small business collectives and district-focused incentives to encourage locals to support those doing business just down the road. So, we thought we’d share a few cities that are getting into the spirit of things this weekend.

Portland, Oregon:
In 2011 the owners of Portland-based shop Betsy & Iya (remember when we interviewed Betsy?) created a local business collective of sorts to help usher in the holiday shopping season. Together, with a group of other small businesses, they launched Little Boxes as a way to encourage Portland shoppers to support their local artisans and brick and mortar businesses on the busiest shopping weekend of the year. Fast forward to 2015 and now shoppers have a handy app they can use to find participating businesses, a chance to win pretty stellar raffle prizes and the opportunity to snag discounts at their favorite local businesses.

Who: Over 200 small businesses

When: November 27 – 28, 2015

More information:

Sacramento, California:
California’s capital city is a true city of neighborhoods and each area takes pride its distinct offerings. During the holiday season, the central city and surrounding neighborhoods come alive with festive events, charming local shops and cozy dining spots. If you find yourself in Midtown on a Saturday morning, be sure to stop by the Midtown Farmers Market to snag some locally grown goods and handcrafted gifts. If you’re in Downtown Sacramento on Small Business Saturday, the holiday ice rink is the place to be with all-day skating and a special Makers’ Faire featuring local artisan-made goods. As Sacramento’s historic district, Old Sacramento is a perfect family spot. The district is full of delightful shops and once the sun goes down, the theatrics begin with Macy’s Theatre of Lights. Slightly outside of the central city, Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood is embracing a pop-up shop trend with Display California’s Holladays kicking off the gifting season with goods from local designers, artists and brands.

Who: Various neighborhoods and districts throughout the city

When: All season long!

More information: Midtown, Downtown, Old Sacramento, Oak Park/Display California

Nashville, Tennessee:
Many cities seem to have creative corridors or hubs and Nashville is no different. This year, those interested in supporting local businesses can take a true shop crawl along Gallatin Avenue on Small Business Saturday. Along with festive shop décor and specials, shoppers can participate in the passport raffle with prizes from local businesses. If shopping isn’t the only thing on the agenda, don’t fret! Local bars, coffee shops and restaurants are participating in the festivities as well!

Who: Small businesses along Nashville’s Gallatin Avenue

When: November 28, 2015

More information:

Cincinnati, Ohio:
Those in the Cincinnati are who are interested in supporting the handmade community this holiday season are in luck! The Crafty Supermarket falls on Small Business Saturday this year and will boast dozens of handmade vendors from 12 states. Not only is this a perfect shopping opportunity, but the event will also feature a live DJ, hands-on craft activities, a cash bar, local food and free swag bags for the first 100 shoppers (so get there early!).

Who: Handmade vendors—from artists to designers

When: November 28, 2015

More information:

Portland, Maine:
The Portland Buy Local campaign has been around since before Small Business Saturday was a thing and it’ll be in full swing during the holiday season. With a perfectly festive gift guide ready to help locals find everything they’re looking for this season, the campaign will be ramping up efforts to highlight the shop local message they spread all year long.

Who: Hundreds of locally owned small businesses in Portland, Maine

When: All year long!

More information:

While we couldn’t highlight every city in the nation doing something amazing to kick off the holiday shopping season, we’re hoping you’ll chime in below and tell us some of the great things your city is doing to support local businesses this year!

p.s. Not interested in giving your loved ones more “stuff” for the holidays? Give the gift of time instead.