Online and TV sales pitches for buying Christmas gifts are getting louder and more abundant every year, yet the choices for buying gifts locally continue to improve, especially in the Adirondack-made sector.
Why on Earth, when the weather turns cold, do we abandon that warm, fuzzy feeling of buying locally made items at farmers' markets? We love the taste of fresh bread and maple syrup produced down the road. We enjoy supporting our local artisans who paint, build furniture and make jewelry. We sleep better at night knowing that we've not only supported a local farmer, baker or cheese maker but we've consumed something more healthy because it was made by someone we know and trust with wholesome ingredients.
Let's get in that farmers' market mindset again and buy Adirondack-made gifts for Christmas.
If you're having trouble focusing, we can help. The glitz and clatter of online and TV advertisements can be distracting. Give yourself a 10-minute break, and unplug. Shut off the phone, tablet, computer, radio and TV.
Now think back to a farmers' market this past summer, maybe in Lake Placid, Keene, AuSable Forks, Keeseville or Saranac Lake. What did you buy? Who did you see and support? Now think of other locally made products that weren't at the farmers' markets. Which of these would make great gifts for your friends and family?
There's a good chance you know someone who makes high-quality Adirondack products that would make excellent Christmas gifts.
Here are a few examples: maple syrup, honey, beer, distilled beverages, wine, paintings, photography, books, note cards, music, furniture, candy, quilts and other fiber products, baked goods, balsam products, jams/jellies and other special food products, farm-fresh products including eggs and meat, jewelry, cheese, leather products, clothing, soaps/salves, candles, pottery/ceramics, dog biscuits, coffee, hand-carved wood products, sculptures, teas, herb-related gifts and hand-woven baskets.
There are tons of choices there. You can buy these items directly from the producers or at local stores.
Try to support your friends and neighbors this season. It will give you that warm, fuzzy farmers' market feeling again and it will help your friends and neighbors pay the bills. That's what keeps the local economy going.
Bureaucrats talk a lot about creating a sustainable economy in the Adirondack Park, one that won't damage the environment but will provide products and services to keep year-round residents happy and communities thriving. Luckily, small businesses are getting help from organizations such as the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation, based in Saranac Lake. And that slow but steady growth is giving us better local shopping choices.
We may not have everything you want to buy here in the Adirondack Park, but we're getting more and more every year. And there are a lot of local entrepreneurs investing in our communities by growing the cottage industries in tandem with the farmers' markets.
We haven't heard anyone say they don't care about job creation in the Adirondack Park; therefore, we assume that everyone wants a strong local economy. Now it's time to prove it. Shop locally this holiday season. It really is better for all of us.
Thanks for your time. You can plug in those contraptions again. By the way, many local artisans and farmers are now selling their products online. Happy shopping.
It annoys us when we hear people blame big-box stores for the death of Main Street businesses in America. We don't have a Walmart in Lake Placid or Saranac Lake; those battles were fought and won years ago. Still, families hold on to their holiday traditions of making all-day shopping trips outside the Blue Line. We partake in these trips, too, because we can't buy everything we need or want here in the Adirondacks. But if you're going to blame Walmart or Target, you should also blame the TV shopping channels, mail-order catalogs and the Internet. And make a note that this isn't a new phenomenon; Sears, Roebuck & Company launched its first mail-order catalog in 1893, sending local dollars to Illinois instead of the downtown general store. Even so, we shouldn't blame any of these businesses. They're just selling the items. We're the ones making the choices of where to buy. We only ask that you try to buy as much as you can here in the Adirondack Park.