By Jenn Watt
Christmas shopping is not only a time to show appreciation for loved ones in your life – it can also be a time to appreciate your community.
By choosing to put your money into area businesses, experiences and resources, Christmas giving can cheer a friend and improve Haliburton County.
As Gail Stelter explains on this page, shopping in the Highlands means keeping businesses flourishing.
We want to have downtown shops that offer a wide range of products, but that only happens when we put our dollars there. The more often we choose to visit a mall rather than a local business, the more we are jeopardizing our towns. It’s a simple equation; no dollars spent equal no businesses left to provide goods.
Putting your money where your heart is, as Stelter says, means investing in the Highlands – and getting great gifts, of course.
We can also use the season of giving as a time to put dollars into strengthening the charities and non-profits that build us up and keep us healthy. Food banks, conservation organizations, anti-poverty groups, international causes – the list is too long to name here, but each donation means that group is able to help more people globally and locally.
A third strategy is to put dollars into Highlands experiences, which has the added bonus of ensuring their success and longevity. Here are a few examples.
Fine Art: We all know the Highlands is packed with potters, painters, glass artists and crafters. Many of those people hold periodic workshops throughout the year. Does someone on your list have a penchant for paint? Give the artists a call or contact Haliburton School of the Arts or the Art Hive to see if there’s a class you could gift for them. (If they simply appreciate art, plenty of local artists have work in Ethel Curry Gallery and Rails End Gallery or open their studios for you to browse.)
The Stage: Pick up tickets to Highland Summer Festival and support local thespians. Grab a season’s pass to the impressive Haliburton Concert Series or tickets to the next Haliburton County Folk Society show.
Outdoors: Several local businesses and non-profits have outdoors experiences you can sign up for now. The Land Trust sells “passports” to their outdoor adventures, you can sign up for ski passes, lift tickets and other wilderness classes, which both support the business owners and also promote appreciation of the environment and active living.
That’s just a start. Whatever your interest there is likely someone here doing it.
Christmas can be an opportunity to put your money back into the economy and build Haliburton as a community along the way. Investing in experiences, locally made goods and businesses in our backyard makes holiday giving all the more special.