There. We said it. The 'C' word. No not COVID… Christmas!
Although, the pandemic is promising to affect our Christmas preparations. This year's festive experience may look different with limits on how many people we can spend the big day with and fears that local lockdowns might once again restrict our retail experiences.
When lockdown eased, businesses across the country introduced measures to ensure that safety is paramount for all shoppers and employees. This included limits on the number of people in shops to ensure social distancing and hand sanitising stations to guarantee hygiene. So, put your mask on and get out in your local community!
Shopping local is always a good idea. However, around this time of year, there is no better feeling than supporting your local economy and experiencing the sights and sounds of Christmas in your community. October might not seem that early to begin Christmas preparations, but if you are part of the 'last-minute club', then this blog is definitely for you.
Read on for our top three reasons why we think that starting early and shopping local is a good idea for Christmas 2020.
1. Online Shopping Demand
When lockdown meant closed shops, many more people discovered the ease and convenience of online shopping. Online sales, as a percentage of retail purchases, went from 19.1% in February to a whopping 32.8% in May (source: Office for National Statistics). For courier companies, the previous six months has been like an extended Christmas rush period, and the BBC ran an article warning that online firms may struggle to fulfil orders if we all left our Christmas shopping to the last minute. So, suppose you leave it too long to order that vital gift, delivery delays might mean a nail-biting wait approaching the big day. The message seems to be - start early or risk losing out in the surge of online shopping demand. But perhaps there is another way? We know some circumstances mean that online may remain the only option, for instance, for those that are shielding. However, if you can, take yourself out of the race by exploring the local offerings provided by businesses on your doorstep.
2. Support Your Local Businesses
During the pandemic, online shopping has understandably boomed, but has this been at the detriment of all our wonderful local high street shops? It is no secret that spending money in your local area will boost your local economy, but did you know that you are more likely to receive better service and advice on products when the transaction is face to face? The Scottish Borders has a wealth of independent shops owned and run by passionate shop owners who are experts in their field. You can find everything you need for creating a magical Christmas for your family right here at home. Not only will you support local communities, but you will also support the environment. By cutting out the carbon footprint of shipping and travelling, it is a much more sustainable and ethical way to shop.
The Scottish Government has launched the ‘Scotland Loves Local’ campaign.
The initiative aims to encourage us to think local first and support our local town centres in a way that is safe and in line with public health guidelines. Why not get involved, by sharing and retweeting messages from the campaign from @scotlandstowns on Twitter and Scotland’s Town Partnership’s page on Facebook. Or post your picture while you explore your local town on social media using the #ScotlandLovesLocal. Right here in Galashiels, the town has its logo for the campaign and a website (https://galashielsheartland.org.uk/) to encourage us to appreciate our town. Take a look and discover all that Galashiels has to offer!
3. Unique Gifts
Trawling large city retailers and the big online stores can leave you uninspired when it comes to finding the perfect gifts for your friends and family. It is often too easy to forget about the wealth of offerings on our doorsteps. Independent businesses usually stock locally produced items, that you probably wouldn't find anywhere else. You'll get a greater choice of rare and unique products that will bring variety and originality to your Christmas proceedings. These wonderfully unique gifts will mean all the more to those receiving them.
We at Tartan Plus Tweed stock thousands of exceptional gifts. From gorgeous Harris Tweed handbags and intricately detailed hipflasks to highland coo memorabilia and even some beautiful jewellery made from heather. There really is something for everyone, this Christmas. Why not take advantage of our layaway offer, where you can choose your items and pay by instalments then collect your items once paid.
Remember that shopping local is for life, not just for Christmas.