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The Joys Of Local Holiday Shopping

Other Editors Say...

Admit it: You’re lazy.

Why go through the hassle of shopping for holiday gifts at a brick-and-mortar store when you can just buy them online?

You can skip the crowds, the lines, the traffic, the packed parking lots. You can even skip the pants, if you want.

But buyer beware: You might be missing something by staying on the couch and off the streets.

Take Rogers Park, for example. The Far North Side neighborhood has a rebate program called “Live Love Shop Rogers Park,” where residents who spend $100 between four different independently owned stores or restaurants from Nov. 24 to Dec. 31 can receive $25 back, courtesy of the Rogers Park Business Alliance.

If you spend $150, you get $50 back. Just remember to save your receipts.

A little farther south, Ravenswood is taking a different approach. Fifteen businesses on North Damen Avenue are staying open late two Thursdays in December, offering discounts and free samples to entice locals to come in out of the cold.

In Evanston, city officials have waived the downtown parking garage and lot fees during week nights and Saturdays for the holidays to lure residents away from the chain retailers– with big parking lots– to the west of the city.

Now, we’re going to go out on a limb here: We are proshopping. Any shopping– including online. We get the appeal. It’s simple. Convenient. Quick.

But the strain of online shopping is starting to show.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, the U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver 850 million packages.

UPS will deliver 750 million.

FedEx’s estimate clocks in at 400 million.

Sure, all of that adds up to serious cash: Online shoppers spent $5 billion on Black Friday alone.

But it also adds up to some serious shopping headaches. Packages pile up. They get stolen. Arrive late. Never arrive at all.

Shopping a little closer to home doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?

And by partnering with their communities, local businesses are getting a little leverage, a competitive edge at this time of year.

Anything small businesses can do to get you off your couch, away from your computer, and into their stores is a boon for your local economy.

You hear that, aldermen?

The benefits are obvious. Splurging on gifts from stores near where you live means supporting local jobs as well as fostering a sense of community that– we hope– encourages other businesses to come to the area.

After all, what happens on Sheridan Road matters a lot more to the people who live in Rogers Park and Evanston than Amazon’s bottom line 2,000 miles away in Seattle.

And there’s one more perk: You just might save a few bucks.–Chicago Tribune

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