Appreciating hyper-local holiday shopping
When did holiday shopping become a contact sport? If I’m to believe what I see in the media, people map out chain-store floor plans weeks in advance. Before the Thanksgiving gravy has congealed, they motor from doorbusters to blockbusters in a wild rush to take another four dollars off the price of a no-name TV.
If that’s how you define the holiday spirit, go ahead. Join the crowd. Buy the Chinese knockoffs. Enjoy the stress.
I’m trying to make my holiday season about appreciation.
To that end, all my shopping will take place within a radius of a couple miles—with the local merchants who do so much to make the Heights all the things it is: unique, comfortable, walkable and increasingly Rockwellesque.
I appreciate small stores where the clerks are plentiful and happy to pay attention to my needs. I appreciate shops that carry merchandise you’ll never find in chain stores.
Rather than being overwhelmed by an airdrop of stuff in a space the size of a hangar, I appreciate a thoughtful selection of items aesthetically presented in a small space.
I appreciate the artisans from here and around the world who help fill our independent stores with creative, handmade items—some of use, some of beauty, some of both—at prices that are often surprisingly low.
I appreciate the friends and neighbors who invest their lives in creating shops specifically to serve the needs of people who live in the Heights, and I take special pleasure in the act of spending my hard-earned money with them.
As I shop for the many people in my life who are fortunate to have all that they really need, I appreciate the chance to buy gifts that have layers of meaning: style, utility, individuality, humanity and locality.
I appreciate that all of this will probably cost less than agonizing over the size and color of sameness at the mall or “lifestyle center.”
It's growing harder to find a community where you can celebrate a hyper-local holiday season. I appreciate that I happen to live in one of them.
Perhaps you’ll join me by doing some of your shopping with our creative and varied local merchants.
Bob Rosenbaum is a lifetime resident of Cleveland Heights. He operates a small consulting practice and manages advertising and market development for the Heights Observer.