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Shopping Locally – A Gift For Everyone

We’ve been making a lot of changes to our lifestyle this year.
One of the great changes that we have been making, is doing a lot more of our shopping locally or with small businesses online.
We have lived in Bodmin, Cornwall for the past fourteen years. During this time we have seen many of the small businesses along the high street disappear. Sadly, many of the shops have sat empty for long periods of time.
When Bodmin’s library was moved out of the town centre, we ventured less and less into the high street. Relying on the supermarkets for most of our needs and the internet for everything else.
We started to feel very detached from the place where we lived. Without roots.
This year however, things have changed. We have been trying to cut down on our plastic waste and to shop more ethically and sustainably. We have been giving careful thought to the impact that our buying choices have on the environment.
This is all quite difficult to do in the supermarkets and the large online retailers. In fact, I was finding it so frustrating, that doing any shopping was starting to become a cause for some considerable anxiety.
We decided that we would have to change our shopping habits more dramatically and venture to places that we didn’t usually visit.
As we were also trying to get more exercise we started to walk into town several times a week and to use our local bakery and greengrocers. Something that we hadn’t done for years.
Not only were we pleased to find that we could cut down dramatically on the amount of plastic packaging we were bringing home, but we also started to feel reconnected to our town.
We’ve made good use of the local charity shops too, where we’ve found lots of bargains and given them a new home.
We have even discovered a vegan cafe which had been trading for over a year without us realising that it was there. (That one made me feel really guilty!)

In a very similar way, buying from small online businesses has also given us a feeling of community.
We started our own small business earlier this year and quickly realised how difficult it is to compete with the large chains. Especially if you are trying to run an ethical, eco-friendly business, where the costs are inevitably higher.
So we have started to seek out those little businesses, for the things that we can’t buy locally. We like to shout about them on social media too.

Shopping this way, we’ve met so many people who are passionate about what they do. We’ve become infected with their enthusiasm and feel good that we’ve supported our community.

So when you’re shopping this Christmas, get away from the manic rush in the supermarkets and high street chains. Check out your local Christmas Market for some beautifully handmade gifts. Pop to your local farmers market for your tasty Christmas treats. Or use social media to track down those little businesses who are working so hard to offer you a more ethical, eco-friendly option for your present shopping.
You’ll not only get some great gifts for your friends and family, but you’ll also put smiles on lots of faces. And one of them will be yours.
It’s a gift for everyone.

If you know of a small business that you think deserves a shout out, leave a comment below.