Keep Holiday Cheer Near

Dec 2, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Economy, Highlight

The holiday season is in full force and it’s time to start thinking about giving the perfect gifts to loved ones. What exactly would your friends and family appreciate?  Gifts are so much more meaningful when they come from the heart, when they come from somewhere special, or have that handmade touch.

CIMG4376A few years ago I moved to California to work with my friend, Ryan, from the Midwest. He had been out west for only a month, but asked me to bring him some local Boetjes mustard from our home town. To me, Ryan was seeking comfort, something that made him feel a little less homesick, and something he loved so much he had to share it with his new friends; even if it was as trivial as mustard. Ryan still had a special connection to his home town and felt pride in the local businesses it supports.

Buying locally is something we should do more often. For one, it supports local economy and keeps the best interests of community entrepreneurs and small business owners in mind. Their unique craftsmanship and ideas bring character and merit to a community that otherwise may not exist. Local businesses create distinct differences between other towns, and keep it appealing for residents and visitors.

Sustaining small, local businesses is also crucial in reducing the environmental impact. In most situations, locally owned businesses are able to develop right in town rather than on the outskirts. Less people feel inclined to drive and urban sprawl and habitat loss is kept at a minimum. Owners are invested in their community and the well-being of its members, which also means more and better jobs!  Over half of working Americans are employed by small businesses, according to some reports.

Here in the North Fork Valley and in Delta County, we are fortunate to have a wide variety of local businesses. Holiday shoppers are likely to find a special gift for everyone on their list.CIMG4398

If you’re  shopping for someone who loves the arts, check out the Creamery Arts Center’s Affordable Arts Boutique for locally crafted stained glass, sculptures, and paintings. You can even create handmade gifts at Fat Cat Pottery this year, or attend the Blue Sage Center for the Arts’ 22nd Annual Holiday Arts Fair on December 5-6 to support even more artists.

The North Fork has lots of small businesses that make unique and wonderful gifts.  The Elizabethan is an artistic little boutique worth venturing to.  They create and sell one of a kind, hand-made designer clothing from reused fabric that is fabulously beautiful and eco-friendly! And don’t forget The Rose; a cute, versatile second-hand shop that sells clothing and accessories for men, women and children.  You’re sure to walk away with fantastic finds here, as well as a little leftover cash in your pocket.  As for the more outdoorsy types, they are sure to appreciate Jim and Loretta Small’s Dancing Goats Milk Soap that soothes anyone’s wind-burned skin after a long day on the slopes.  Plus, it smells amazing!

Another great idea is the KVNF Community Radio auction. You can bid on unique gifts ranging anywhere from a massage at Bija Massage, an evening listening to the Grand Junction Symphony, or a romantic night at the Stewart Homestead Cabin on Ayer Cattle Ranch.  In this case your gift will do double duty, and you will support our local radio, news and community bulletin board as well.

CIMG4392And if you’d like to get involved in Community Supported Agriculture–and live in the North Fork Valley, Crested Butte or Gunnison) Local Farms First is going to have their next open online market December 11-15 with deliveries on December 17  (with 20% delivery discount to Paonia).

We can all appreciate a meal out, if you are buying gifts for folks nearby or inclined to visit.  Local artists have a selection of unique cards that makes the perfect wrapper for a gift certificate. For those with a sweet tooth, the Hightower Café has homemade strudel that is out of this world, and Drost’s Chocolates has a decadent selection that surely satisfies!  Local wines are available in areas stores, or by calling the wineries and making arrangements.  Big B’s Juices and Ciders are also likely to be a hit.

Indeed, if holiday food is on your mind (or shopping list) then consider Raincrow Farm’s naturally-grown fingerling potatoes or Austin Farm peaches or local honey. Camelot Farm also has a selection of apples that are perfect for pies, cobblers or cider, and Indian Ridge has grass-fed pastured Heritage Turkey. Or for the less traditional: grass-fed premium cut filet mignon from Eagle Butte Ranch or free-range organically fed chickens from Terra Fata Farms.  The Bakery at Small Potatoes Farm has an incredible array of freshly baked breads and goods, and advertises special lists available for the holidays. CIMG4389

Local hardware stores like Dependable Lumber, or Gambles have garden tools and hardware for those who like to get their hands dirty and things done, and Paonia Farm and Home Supply has a new assortment of toys for your favorite pets. ‘Mainstreet’ variety stores–like Hays–can often supply what you need, to wrap a gift or get it ready to mail.

So if you want to charm the pants off your friends and family during the holidays this year, go out and get them something they’ll love,  something they won’t find anywhere else. You’ll feel great knowing you improved the local economy, and the people who make it such an exceptional, extraordinary place.  Spread the word and the local holiday shopping cheer! Happy holidays!



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