Temperatures are dropping and it’s time to start holiday shopping! Shopping in big box stores and online retailers can be tempting for its convenience and selection, but make sure you challenge yourself to use these holiday spending dollars to support your local economy as well. With the recent passage of internet use taxes at the city, state and county level, you’ll pay the same amount of tax whether you buy from big box stores or mom and pop shops, online or in person. But buying local still makes a big difference in our community. A study from the New Economics Foundation found that when comparing similar purchases, buying from small businesses put double the money into the local community than a purchase from a large chain store. In addition to supporting the economy, buying local gives you the opportunity to find unique, special items and reduce the environmental impacts involved in shipping a product to your home. Not sure where to start? Start by checking out the Chamber’s online directory listing of Chamber member retailers. The Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau has listings of great places to shop locally in Columbia. And it’s never a bad idea to go window shopping on the streets of The District either.
Not sure what to get for the person on your list who has everything? Consider making a donation in their honor to a charity with special significance. Celebrate the pet lover in your life with a donation to a local animal rescue or shelter; honor a teacher on your list with a donation to an organization that provides after-school tutoring or school supplies to kids in need. CoMo Gives, a project of the Community Foundation of Central Missouri, is an annual online fundraiser that rounds up over 100 nonprofits in Columbia and Mid-Missouri and makes it easy to donate to as many organizations as you’d like in one place. Nearly half of these organizations are Chamber members, and all are strong supporters of our community. CoMo Gives will accept donations through the end of the year. Learn more and make a donation at comogives.com.