Do your gift shopping locally

We know we say this every year around this time, but it’s important and is worth repeating.

If you want to crank up your stress level for the holidays, you can drive a long way to shop in congested malls and big-box shopping centers. If you don’t mind being cold and impersonal, you can knock off your gift list online.

But if you’re looking for a festive ambiance, if you want gifts you can’t get elsewhere, if you want your gifts and your experience of buying them to have extra meaning, and if you want to add to your local economy instead of subtract from it, why not shop at local stores and craft fairs?

Surprisingly, you might find better prices. Not surprisingly, you might find special items you can’t get elsewhere, better quality, better customer service and shorter lines.

Small Business Saturday is tomorrow. The campaign encourages people to take advantage of local, independent shops, showing that a concerted effort to do so boosts each community’s economy.

As you might imagine, we support this idea wholeheartedly. We hope Small Business Saturday, begun by American Express, eventually gains the level of fame of Black Friday. Please, shop locally as much as you can for your Christmas gifts this year.

Money you spend on the internet or out of town leaves your community; it’s an economic drain for your area. It also feeds corporations such as Amazon that are killing local retail businesses nationwide, dodging sales taxes and thus making everyone else pay its fair share of the cost of government — and now, getting state and local governments to give it billions of dollars in tax money to set up its new headquarters in New York City and the Washington, D.C., suburbs.

But every dollar you give a local merchant stays here and is recirculated, usually multiple times. Cumulatively, that maintains and improves the number and variety of local jobs, as well as of local businesses.

Volunteers have joined up with businesses to create a joyful holiday environment where shoppers feel welcome and relaxed. Check the Enterprise calendar to find out about the wealth of holiday festivities, art and craft sales, performances and more over the next few weekends.

It is a positive, interactive shopping experience, so make sure to shop at the small businesses that uphold our community, employ our families, chip in toward our taxes and support our youth sports teams, schools, arts and other worthy causes.

And you can get fantastic gifts, too. Try it; you’ll see.