All Wrapped Up Locally This Christmas - The Stratford Observer

When it comes to Christmas shopping you will probably follow millions of others, heading for the nearest large shopping centre. There you’ll join the flood of humanity flowing around the shops in wave after wave. You may well land your catch but you’ll end the day, exhausted. You will probably have spent more than you intended. You will certainly have spent a great deal of time, and measuring the energy expended will be an impossible task. For some this is an activity they wouldn’t change for anything because it’s all part of Christmas shopping. But is it necessary for you? Do you really want to go rushing suicidally round crowded stores? Perhaps this year you might like to consider something less harassing?

The answer is quite simple, don’t travel miles to the shops, – shop locally this Christmas. It is an odd thing but we all tend to forget the local shops when it comes to times like Christmas. Yet there is little that is available in the large chains that you cannot buy in the smaller, local stores. Why then rush blindly into the unknown at a time when, of all times, we should know and trust the shops we are familiar with and use all year round?

Possibly it is because familiarity does indeed breed contempt. There they are, the local shops and emporia, all year through, day in and day out, serving our mundane daily needs with quiet, caring efficiency, only to be ignored when Christmas rears its head upon the far horizon. And yet, if we only stopped to think and look, most of us would probably be amazed at what is on offer locally at this time of year.

Local shops these days are sophisticated places. Many of them belong to buying co-operatives or operate under the umbrella of large wholesale houses. They can often offer the sorts of bargain prices the larger chains can offer, and they can certainly match them when it comes to quality. Even if some items do cost a few pence more, are you really saving anything travelling further afield? Transport costs money whatever mode of travel you employ. Then there is the matter of wear and tear on your own constitution such trips can impart. You have to contend with crowds, with unfamiliar shops, less than concerned assistants, bulky parcels, packages and bags to carry around for hours, and the constant, nagging fear you just may lose your purse, or even have it stolen. And once you have completed your expedition, you still have to get the goods back home, safe and intact. This alone can dictate the nature of the gifts and goods you buy.

None of this applies to local shopping expeditions. Parking is relatively cheap, sometimes free, and easy to get at. The shops won’t be too crowded, and you’ll be able to get help and advice from caring shop assistants when you need it. You can be sure you’ll get value for money and if you are honest, you’ll not be able to fault the selection.

This Christmas don’t prepare to do battle. Visit your local shops and look at what they have to offer. You’ll probably be surprised, you’ll certainly be very happy. You won’t find the whole business of shopping for Christmas developing into the sort of deal that would have taxed the heroes of old. Learn again to enjoy shopping as the pleasure it was always meant to be. Take the family and make it a family event because that in essence, is what local shopping can be.


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