Spread some holiday cheer while uplifting your local small business community.
Since March, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have invaded every aspect of our daily lives, with the damage ranging in severity and influence. Like warriors around a campfire regaling one another with their tales of victory and defeat from the battlegrounds, I imagine us recounting this time in our lives with the generations to come in much the same way. “This one time, we ran completely out of toilet paper and…” In all seriousness, however, no one has escaped the coronavirus’ wretched grasp unscathed. We all have a story to tell.
While we continue to navigate this new normal and assess what can be salvaged from the wreckage, I challenge you to seek out the good – because I assure you there is much, and there is much that you can do to help our local economy spin straw into gold.
As we enter into the season of giving, I encourage you to channel your gift-giving efforts through the many opportunities available to invest in your community. Here are a couple of suggestions, although the possibilities are endless.
Annual Membership: The gift that keeps on giving.
Memberships are among my favorite gifts to give and receive, especially for families. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving – a year’s worth of experiences, which I personally treasure far more than any material item. In these COVID times, outdoor activities tend to be the hot ticket. Therefore, I strongly recommend annual memberships to your local botanical garden or zoo. For us in Naples, we have the Naples Botanical Garden and the Naples Zoo. For the rest of you, check out your local zoos and botanical gardens!
Children’s museums are another fantastic option. Here in Naples, the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples is an all-time favorite outing for my kids. As with all other businesses currently opened, they have established COVID-19 protocols to ensure the health and safety of all guests and staff members. So, as long as indoor activities are not a deterrent, grab your cutest face mask and get to it.
These types community treasures are usually owned and operated by non-profit organizations, which are completely dependent upon donations. Therefore, your investment in a membership is not only a benefit to the recipient, but it is guaranteed to support the work that these organizations are doing in – and for – your community, as well as securing the jobs of all those on staff.
Staycation: Dreamin’ of a white sand beach Christmas?
Are you used to jetsetting over the Winter Break, but COVID has grounded your plans? Don’t let that put a damper on your holiday spirit. Just be willing to flip the script. Wherever you live, it might be somewhere others choose to vacation!
Here in Florida, you can treat your spouse or family to a night or long weekend of playing tourist at one of the many incredible hotels or resorts along the coastline, all while supporting the local hotel and tourism industry.
Elsewhere, you can support your local hotel and tourism industry by partaking in your own staycation and exploring all that your city has to offer!
Food: The quickest way to one’s heart, right?!?!
Most moms (and some dads, at least in my household) haven’t prepared or eaten so much home-cookin’ since their childhoods, which is great in a lot of ways. However, if you are looking for a break from the kitchen, why not treat yourself or your loved ones to some take-out, meal delivery, or catering from one of your MANY deliciously mouth-watering local eateries?!
Gym Membership: Get a jump on those 2021 resolutions!
With the arrival of the new year just around the corner (Hallelujah!) comes the much-anticipated (or dreaded) New Year’s Resolutions. A number of gyms have certainly taken a financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Those that have been able to survive these last nine months have established new protocols in line with CDC and State guidelines to ensure membership health and safety.
Furthermore, many boutique gyms and studios are also offering Zoom and virtual options to members. The gift of a membership for you or someone you love may be a great way to support a local business and the successful achievement of a 2021 resolution.
Salon Service: Treat Yo’ Self.
Our brothers and sisters in the beauty business took a direct hit from the coronavirus as many of us became reacquainted with our original hair color. So, this holiday season, grab a gal pal and treat yo’ selves to a fresh cut and color, a mani/pedi, or other spa or beauty treatment according to your level of comfort.
Product Party: If you’re going to buy a gift, it may as well be from a friend.
If you are looking to purchase a more tangible gift to place under the tree or stuff in a stocking, don’t forget about all of your friends workin’ the online party biz. Many women, particularly moms, are supplementing their incomes through this wildly popular side hustle. Whether you are looking for children’s books and toys, beauty products, or clothing and jewelry, you are likely connected to someone through less than six degrees of Kevin Bacon from whom you can purchase that which you are searching.
These are just a few suggestions on how to spruce up your holidays all while supporting local small businesses. Happy shopping!