Keeping It Local Holiday Shopping Guide: Part 4

Connecting with Your Community over the Holidays

Story by Melody Warnick, author of This is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are

Researching and writing my book This Is Where You Belong, I learned all about why loving where you live really matters. (Better health, happiness, and longevity, for starters.) For military families this can be a tall order. You move so much that you’re often starting from scratch. But here’s one simple strategy you can use this holiday season to feel more connected to your community: shop locally. Buying some of your gifts from independent businesses, hiring locals to make your life easier, and giving experiential gifts that get your family into the community are all twofers: they’re fabulous, fun presents AND they build a love for your new hometown.

Now, I’m not saying you can never shop on Amazon again. But consider buying just one or two local gifts this season for someone you love. Your dollars will have a lasting financial impact on your town—and on your feelings about your town. Here are some gift-giving ideas to get you started:

Gifts You Can Unwrap
Buy something tangible for someone you love in a brick-and-mortar store where you live.

  1. Books from a local bookstore (find one at Indie First)
  2. A potted plant (from a local nursery, not Home Depot)
  3. A t-shirt/mug/magnet/necklace/ornament that declares one’s love for one’s place (like by North Carolina company Home State Apparel)
  4. Anything from a nearby antique store, thrift store, or Craigslist
  5. Toys (if you lack a locally owned toy store, you can now shop mine, Imaginations, online)
  6. Knitting supplies
  7. Clothes from indie stores
  8. Handmade jewelry
  9. A guide to local history
  10. A flower bouquet
  11. A map to area hiking trails
  12. A downtown gift certificate
  13. Locally made furniture
  14. Hand-sewn quilt or apron, commissioned from a local seamstress
  15. All kinds of handmade art (Etsy has a Local Search function!)
  16. Subscription to the local newspaper or magazine

Melody Warnick is a chronic mover and the author of This Is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are (Viking, 2016), about how she fell in love with her adopted hometown of Blacksburg, Virginia. You can learn more about place attachment and subscribe to Melody’s once-every-three-weeks newsletter at her website,