As I reflect on some of the best gifts I’ve given or received in the past, most can be linked back to a small rural town.
For years, I’ve been giving Prairies North magazine subscriptions to my B.C. in-laws and my dearest friends. This magazine, headquartered in Norquay, Sask., features heart-lifting prairie photos of sweeping skies, dancing northern lights, rushing rivers and growing crops. In stories about parks, buffalo herds, migrating birds and grasslands, the rural magazine brings to life what it is about Saskatchewan that we often take for granted.
In giving Prairies North, I take heart that my favourite people will not only be getting a gift on Christmas day, but they will continue to receive magazines all year long.
That’s why newspaper subscriptions are great gifts as well. If you buy one from Saskatchewan’s many great weekly newspapers, you are giving over 50 individual gifts a year, delivered right to the post office box of your loved-ones.
How great is that!
Then there are the fun-to-open local gift certificates that can be given. Every year, I get a nice big juicy one to Sisters’ Boutique in my hometown and every year I treat myself to a leisurely afternoon of shopping for exactly what I’ve always wanted.
In your hometown, I bet there is a gift certificate that is perfect for each person on your list. Maybe it’s a gas station certificate for that teen that likes to drive around just for the sake of driving around. Or, maybe a grocery store certificate for the cheese-lover, or Pizza Pop lover, on your Christmas list. Perhaps a pharmacy certificate so that your loved-one can treat themselves to a few scratch tickets. Or perhaps you’d like to give a veterinarian certificate to that pet lover on your list. Or maybe you’d like to gift a great meal at a local restaurant, or a free car wash or tickets to the local theatre.
This year I’m doing my very best to keep most of my gift-giving local. Those on my list will receive perogies from our local masters. They will be getting tickets to local events. They will be receiving gift cards for meals, gas and groceries that come from right here at home.
I could spend my gift-giving budget in the city, picking up toys and trinkets. But the way I see it, if I can save myself a trip to the nearest city even once or twice this month, that’s about $100 – $200 in my pocket that I’ve saved on gas and meals getting me there and back and fed in between.
That gives me $100 – $200 more to spend on my loved-ones. That’s eight gift subscriptions to a magazine, or about six newspaper subscriptions. That’s also several meals out, a handful of events or a few tanks of gas that I can buy locally and give in the form of great gift certificates.
So, this Christmas season, I formally issue the shop-local challenge. See what creative gifts you will give, and the stories you’ll have to tell about them.
Your local business community will thank you for it, and will repay you countless dividends the whole year through as your town stays strong and vibrant.
Email comments to LCfroese@sasktel.net and follow Christalee Froese’s Blog at 21days2joy.wordpress.com