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Holiday Gift Guide 

The first of five gift-giving guides

Look for links to all five online Gift Guides on the Journal's home page this holiday season.

We have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Really, it could have been worse.

Remember a year ago? Yes, we had a shiny new president and – well, a sack of hope. But we also had a banking system in collapse and major corporations with their hands out. It didn’t exactly inspire people to go out and shop for their loved ones.

But the Journal survived — and by mid-year, began to grow again — because many (most) of our small independent local businesses survived. Our staff and contributors here at the Journal sincerely thank all these small businesses and, I’m sure, our readers do, too.

It’s the holiday season again. No, I’m not going to tell you to whip out your credit card and shop, shop, shop – especially with all the devious new bank card penalties lurking in the fine print. What I will do is urge you to buy carefully this season — not only within your budget but, by shopping at local independent retailers like these in our holiday Gift Guide that runs every week for the next five weeks.

According to the American Independent Business Alliance, each dollar you spend at one of these indies returns three times more money to our local economy than a dollar spent at a chain store. Here are some other good reasons to shop locally from the AMIBA:

It builds community. The casual encounters you enjoy at neighborhood-scale businesses and the public spaces around them build relationships and community cohesiveness. They are the ultimate social networking sites! (I often get news tips while shopping for lettuce.)

It shapes our character. Why did you choose to live here? What keeps you? Independent businesses help give our communities one-of-a-kind personality (which Humboldt has in abundance).

It creates jobs. Local businesses are customers of local printers, accountants, wholesalers, farms, attorneys etc. (not to mention, locally owned newspapers).

It lowers taxes. Local businesses put less demand on our roads, sewers and safety services and generate more tax revenue per sales dollar, helping keep your taxes lower. (Think Co-op and Wildberries buying local tofu and tortillas.)

It enhances choices. A wide variety of independent businesses, each serving their customers’ tastes, creates greater overall choice for all of us. (I think we have more non-chain restaurants and taco trucks per capita than just about anywhere.)

It gives back to the community. Indies donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events and teams as chains do. (Murphy’s Markets’ generous support of youth sports.)

-- Happy holidays to you from all of us at the North Coast Journal.

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