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Christmas shopping begins … locally

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

So sang Andy Williams in the 1963 holiday hit of the same title.

“With the kids jingle belling, and everyone telling you be of good cheer … it’s the most wonderful time of the year,” Williams sings.

And, for the most part, that certainly is true.

As Northeast Michigan residents look around them, there are a wide variety of wonderful shopping opportunities available to them. Over the years, the number of niche and specialty shops in the region has mushroomed, providing a variety of shopping experiences.

Yet I would be remiss not to also point out that, as residents looked around them, they probably also notice a number of delivery trucks scurrying to and from, making deliveries at this home, dropping off packages on that porch.

Yes, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year — usually. Sometimes, for a small business owner, the line between a good year or a bad one is razor thin.

I’m always reminded of that fact at Thanksgiving, with events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday. As I read The Alpena News and examine all the sales ads, I see many promotions and reminders to “shop local” this holiday season.

You see, at Thanksgiving and in the weeks ahead, you and I are captains of our destiny. We can choose to head online and order gifts this year, knowing full well that, within a couple of days, those items will end up on our porch.

Or we can get our exercise in and walk from store to store and purchase our gifts locally.

As we do, we can feel good about keeping our money local and energizing the region’s economy.

The truth is, few of us shop strictly one way or the other in the scenarios above. Often, it is a mixture of the two, and that is fine and understandable. There remain some things that still cannot be found locally, and the only way to get them is by ordering them online.

Just understand that every decision you make at your end results in a reaction at the other end.

Will residents do most of their shopping on the internet this year and have an endless stream of boxes show up on their front porch each day, or will they head to one of the many wonderful stores the region has to offer and support shopping local?

There is no right or wrong answer to that question, but, as I just said, there are always consequences.

Remember, these weeks between now and Christmas often determine the health of a business as it heads to the end of the year.

Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the holidays this season. As you do, consider shopping locally.

No question, the region abounds with a wide variety of shopping possibilities.

Bill Speer recently retired as the publisher and editor of The News. He can be reached at bspeer@thealpenanews.com.

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