From the Editors: Giving the Gift of Local
What image do the words "holiday shopping" evoke for you?
Perhaps it's a nostalgic memory, which depending on your age could mean very different scenes. It could be snow crunching under your feet on Downtown Erie sidewalks as a child, marveling at the wonder of the Boston Store. Or if you're a child of the '80s, it could be a jam-packed Millcreek Mall, waiting in line to sit on Santa's lap, while filling your wishlist with trinkets from Children's Palace, KB Toy Store, or Toys R Us. Or maybe, if you're of a younger generation, it's as simple as clicking "add to list" to load up your online wishlist.
Some, whether by tradition or circumstance, may bristle at the sound of those words. Holidays are, at their core, supposed to mean spending time with family, being grateful for all we already have, giving to those who have less, and fulfilling family or religious traditions. For many others, especially now, times are tight and holiday shopping may need to be scaled way back in order to make sure essentials are provided.
For us at the Reader, in our November issue, "holiday shopping" always means shopping small by supporting local businesses, and we're here to help you out by providing our annual Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide. This year we've broken our list down to local shopping hot spots: throughout downtown, in the many local shopping plazas, and in burgeoning midtown, while also giving tips on shopping local pop-up markets, spending locally while shopping online, as well as a special section provided by the NWPA Innovation Beehive Network highlighting some regional makers they support.
Also featured within this issue are ways to support local farmers at Erie's new Westside Market on Powell, local fashion designers, local religious artisans, and traditional Polish immigrant businesses, as well as tips on expanding your shopping horizons at businesses created by Erie's current immigrant and refugee communities.
There are also ways to support local without spending a dime. Liking, commenting, and sharing the social media page of your favorite local business, artist, or musician doesn't cost a thing and can be a huge source of support — or better yet, vote for them for Best of Erie 2023 (voting is open until Dec. 11, visit bestof.eriereader.com to start your ballot).
Our contributing editor Jim Wertz would also remind you that supporting local doesn't just mean buying gifts locally, it means using your vote to truly make a difference in the way our county is managed. Our upcoming local election is on Tuesday, Nov. 7 and it is of grave importance to the future of Erie County — making sure you get to the polls is arguably the most imperative trip you make this holiday season.
Use your online voice, use your vote, and use your money wisely to make "holiday shopping" this year mean a little bit more to your entire local community and, while doing so, help create new nostalgic memories that those words will evoke for the next generation.