By Marilyn Holman

Shop local. Buy local. Support your local businesses. It is a rallying cry heard around the country all year long, but especially now at holiday and gift-giving time. Local small businesses need you. Why?
Well folks, for us here at The Town Crier it means the small businesses that advertise with us are the ones that make this small town newspaper possible. Buy your gifts from the businesses that advertise in our newspaper. That way, the money you spend on holiday gifts and year round services stays in your own community.
Whether it’s hairdressing by Hair Affair or Gloria’s, or a sandwich from the Country Sooper, or meat and vegetables from Hill Top Farm, those small business owners will be able to pay their bills.
Don’t forget to shop the local craft fairs and bazaars this weekend like United Parish of Upton’s Holiday Bazaar or the St. Gabriel’s Christmas Fair in Upton on Saturday, December 4. Then those local artists will be able to put food on their table and buy gifts for their kids.
If you buy your liquor from Liquor Plus in Upton, instead of a big box store, you are supporting local families; people who participate in and donate to our local organizations.
And another thing, if you shop at the big box stores and purchase all those foreign made plastic toys, where do they end up? In our landfills! Yes, according to a fascinating book I read a few years ago called Garbology by Edward Humes, the United States is becoming the garbage dump for those low wage countries producing those cheap plastic items. Then we have to figure out how to dispose of the trash properly so it does not wind up in the oceans, choking our fish and filling our whales’ bellies with plastic so they cannot eat and then die.
See, it goes on and on. It is all connected. So once again, the mantra is SHOP LOCAL, BUY LOCAL, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BUSINESSES! They are your friends and neighbors.
When your school children have a fundraiser and need a donation, who do they go to? The local businesses. Have you purchased anything at that business this year to help them give back to the community? You should!
I have mentioned but a few of the many businesses advertising in The Town Crier. Please read through this entire paper and figure out what gifts you can buy at these local, small businesses. There are gift certificates for restaurants, hair care, and massages. Purchase a tank of oil, landscape design, or yard cleanup locally. I will never forget the year my dad gave me new tires from a local small business for Christmas. Under the Christmas tree was a box that said, “Go to the Garage,” and on my tires were big red bows!
Make your holiday gift giving fun. SHOP LOCAL, BUY LOCAL. Introduce yourself to the business owners; they will be so glad to meet you! There are new friends around every corner. Namaste.