Like many of us, our family prefers to keep our dollars in La Plata County, so we make a conscious effort to Buy Local as often as possible.
It feels good knowing the purchases we make are supporting our neighbors, and our dollars are recirculating throughout the community.
However, many times the products we buy locally are made in a foreign country such as China, an economy thats booming. So it occurred to me that perhaps we could expand our idea of buying local products to also include giving local services.
In times like these, gifts of local services might be especially welcome to family, friends, neighbors and those in need, and they would be equally supportive of our local economy.
For example, consider stocking stuffers such a pre-paid gift card for any of the many services we all use such as getting a haircut, an oil change, our morning cup-of-joe to-go, a tank of gas, a basket of groceries or some dry cleaning. I understand that our local utility and communications companies can arrange for pre-paid services. Would it not be acceptable to give or receive a gift of pet grooming, tire rotation, window washing, furnace repair or carpet cleaning?
Im hoping the holidays are still about gratitude and expressing our care and appreciation for those closest to us, rather than how large of a foreign-made flat-screen TV we can bring home. Many Durangoans work in the local service industry and make lives more enjoyable. Now is the time to consider giving something extra to the restaurant wait staff, local musicians, mail carriers and the many people who provide maintenance and protective services. A gift certificate from a downtown restaurant or a movie theater punch card would be most appreciated.
If youre now starting to think outside the big box, consider how wonderful it would be to receive a few hours of pre-paid house cleaning, sidewalk or driveway snow shoveling, a half cord of firewood or propane delivery, a massage or pedicure or a computer tune-up. For the adventuresome, perhaps a gift of a river-raft trip, golf or tennis lesson, ski or snowboard rental, health-club membership, bike tune-up, boat rental or rec center pass.
Yes, many Americans are struggling, and we have to eat a little humble pie. The holidays are big business and hyped to the hilt by the national advertisers, which is why we get caught up thinking we need to break the bank on a pile of foreign-made products that we already have multiple copies of at home. Consider one-of-kind gifts made locally by our many artisans, photographers and crafts people.
This year, our family is well-aware there are those who are struggling and would be grateful recipients of useful gifts that may lighten their burden.
This year, start a new tradition: Buy more local products and give more local services.
email@example.com Bob Kunkel is the downtown business development manager for the city of for Durango and executive director of the Business Improvement District.