Shop local – a phrase we hear and repeat often during the holiday months. Always a high priority, it has been pushed to the top this season. Let’s face it. No one expected this pandemic to last this long, especially small business owners. They need our help more than ever, but in an understated way we need theirs too. Small businesses need our patronage to keep the lights on, but we need them to contribute back to our community in ways we, as individuals, cannot. They offer things like jobs, local tax funds, and a selection of goods that are tailored to our specific needs and experiences. The owners and employees of these small businesses are people we know and love, so let’s support them by keeping our dollars within our own community as much as possible this year!
Choosing gifts can be time consuming, so to make things easier we’ve put together a list of unique local gifts and experiences for your holiday shopping that will help contribute to your community and support small business in your area.
- Hydrascape Stickers – Local artist Gretchen Leggit has created these beautiful infinity stickers of memorable destinations that make a great gift. Your loved one will be able to customize almost anything with these durable vinyl decals. The artist is a Bellingham resident who is known for many murals that add soul to our PNW. If you’re giving to someone who lives here, they’ll love the daily reminder of your favorite mountain or nature spot. If you’re giving to someone you’re missing this holiday, they’ll love the reminder of where you’re from, or a time they’ve visited you.
- Sea Witch Botanicals Candles Natural, Vegan, Ethical – While this local B-Corp sells more than just candles, their plant-based candles are a great choice for gift giving during the holiday season. They’ve managed to perfectly capture the scent of our local forest and package it in a zero waste vessel. In addition to leaving the world better than they found it (seriously, they have been known to pick up garbage off our local beaches), this family owned business constantly donates a sizable chunk of their profits to a rotating non-profit and directly supports our local community. What’s not to love?
- Beer Delivery from local breweries – It’s no secret that Whatcom and Skagit county love their breweries. The breweries have done great things to boom our economy, boost tourism, bring people together (safely), and provide countless jobs. In addition to the brewers and servers, this section of the industry has also played a huge part in the success of Skagit County’s own hops farms and their contribution. The pandemic has been hard on this industry. We suggest sending a little bit of holiday cheer to a loved one – right to their doorstep. Breweries like Kulshan (Bellingham) , Boundary Bay (Bellingham), and District Brewing (Mount Vernon) have offered online ordering and deliveries to better serve their community and keep them safe. Send a six-pack to someone who deserves a beer break. If delivery isn’t an option, you can still pay for a gift online and have it picked up.
- Washington State Discover Pass – A gift that keeps on giving for a whole year! This pass provides access to hundreds of parks, natural and wildlife areas, recreation sites, and more. Encourage your loved one to get out into nature and enjoy what Washington has to offer. In addition, your purchase helps support these areas and funds the departments that manage them.
- Pickford Virtual Screening Room – Make movie night easy. Pick an enriching movie and gift a virtual screening of it to anyone. The Pickford Film Center is a non-profit that uplifts the arts and hosts special events for the community.
- Adopt a Pet from a local shelter (Skagit or Whatcom) – Of course, we only recommend going this route if you know for sure the pet is wanted permanently. If you are sure that someone in your family would love this gift, rescuing a pet from one of the local shelters is a gift to an animal in need, as well as a loved one.
Something To Feel Normal Again
- It’s easy to forget about self care during a pandemic. But now, more than ever, is the perfect time to give the gift of something to make someone feel normal again. It does wonders for the spirit. Gift certificates from salons and spas are the perfect way to say “you deserve to feel amazing”. The best part is, gift certificates allow your giftee to choose how they’ll get pampered; facials, swedish massages, eyebrow waxing, haircuts, manicures, and so much more. Our favorite spots include Bare Boutique (Mount Vernon), Evolve Downtown (Mount Vernon), A Better Way Massage & Acupuncture (Bellingham), and Studio Galactica (Bellingham).
- A private shopping experience at Cheeks Jeans – This woman owned clothing boutique in Lynden offers beautiful, hand-picked clothes for any occasion. For a limited time you can book a private shopping experience for you, a friend, or a small group of individuals. You will have the entire store to yourself while browsing their unique, stylish pieces. Need a second opinion? A Sales Associate will be available to recommend pieces specific to your style.
Want to do more for small business? Check out how to support a local business during a pandemic here.