It’s more fun to buy holiday gifts locally 


Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when hordes of shoppers looking for holiday deals pillage the aisles of chain retail stores like the Vandals sacking ancient Rome. It’s a fun annual tradition for some families to get up early in the morning to go to the malls, outlets and shopping centers and find the marked-down bargains. We at MHAT-19 would like to encourage South Valley locals who are looking for special holiday gifts to consider during the holidays and throughout the year supporting the local economy by purchasing some merchandise and services from local shops and businesses.
There are many reasons to shop locally when you’re out hunting for holiday presents for friends and family members. It’s a great way to encourage prosperity and economic growth in our region. Research shows that businesses and skilled workers prefer to invest and settle in towns and cities that have a unique character. It’s also a great way to invest in our community because we are supporting people who are our neighbors and friends.
Shopping local also puts taxes back into the community instead of sending it off to other locations. Cities need revenue for infrastructure investments and public services such as police and fire departments, schools, parks and recreation facilities, street maintenance, and other benefits for citizens. Shopping local plays a big role in keeping these services going.
When you spend money by shopping at local businesses, as much as 68 percent of your dollars stays in the local economy. That means that for every $100 spent locally, $68 returns to our community through sales taxes, payroll taxes and other local expenditures. Shop at the chain stores and that amount drops to 43 percent. And, of course, if you make your purchases using a national website, the money that is re-circulated back into the local economy drops to a dismal zero.
Buying locally also benefits the environment. It requires less transportation costs to get goods to you. Also, the more we support shops in the South Valley’s downtown and city centers, the less need to build on the fringe of our communities, reducing the impact our natural habitats and the amount of pollution that is released into our air and water resources.
Buying locally also creates more jobs for our residents. Across the nation, small local businesses are the largest jobs generators. So supporting them encourages the growth of employment. Encouraging the growth of local businesses also results in better service for customers. Local businesses tend to hire employees who understand the products they provide. Local businesses also take time to get to know their customers and build good relationships with the people who frequent their stores or use their services.
Buying local in the South Valley can be a lot of fun. Consider visiting the incredible BookSmart store in downtown Morgan Hill. It offers not just a terrific selection of books, but gift items such as stationary and children’s toys and games as well. The BookSmart staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Consider also purchasing gift certificates from local restaurants. Morgan Hill, Gilroy and San Benito County have many family-run eateries. It’s easy to find one that’s just right for someone on your gift list to enjoy local cuisine.
We also suggest visiting our region’s local wineries to pick up a bottle of local vino for people who enjoy great wine. We have a number of them in Morgan Hill, along Watsonville Road and Hecker Pass, and the beautifully rural (and largely unknown) Cienaga Road south of Hollister. There are also a number of local businesses in the South Valley region where you can purchase locally-made gift items such as dried fruit, garlic products (in Gilroy especially), and chocolate and candy gifts. Our local farmers’ markets also offer exceptionally unique selections such as local baked goods and canned goods and handmade craft items for your holiday gift-giving.
Also consider gift certificates for services from local companies such as car washes, lawn-mowing services, salons and hairstylists. Or if someone you want to please this holiday has everything they need, donate to a local nonprofit organization or charity in their name. This gift will truly be appreciated by all.

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