I like to think of myself as a good gift giver, or at least I like to tell myself that I am.
When I know I am going to be giving a gift to someone special in my life, I put a lot of care and thought into who that person is, what their interests are and what they need in their life. It is my opinion that the thoughtless gift is one of the worst things you could do this holiday season. OK – maybe not the worst, but you know what I mean.
The thoughtless gift is often discarded, usually through being re-gifted, donated or possibly even placed in the trash. I urge those of you that exercise thoughtless gift giving to save your money, donate to charity or – my favorite – put some thought into it! The thoughtful gift is a wonderful way to tell that individual that you really care about them, you understand their hobbies and it also makes shopping so much more fun.
One of my favorite ways to find a thoughtful gift is to seek out and support local businesses during the holiday season. With the rise of Small Business Saturday to compliment Black Friday, supporting local shops and vendors seems to be a continued trend no matter the time of year. In the Tri-Cities area, there are numerous opportunities to attend craft markets, trunk shows and endless stretches of adorable shops, particularly in downtown Batavia.
At the annual Celebration of Lights Festival, the Holiday Craft Market was introduced to the schedule of activities in 2015. Festival attendees can browse a variety of local vendors and even take advantage of a kids craft activity table this year, all located inside the City Council Chambers. Batavia resident and local crafter Dee Karabowicz of Chickadee Clays makes decorative and functional ceramic items and has been a Holiday Craft Market vendor since its inception in 2015.
“What I love about this market is that it’s in Batavia; it’s for Batavia; and the shoppers are mostly Batavians," she said. "I think it’s important to develop a relationship with the people that buy your products and I can do that in this environment. I myself support handmade and local as much as possible because you actually get to meet the artist that puts love into creating that object.”
Batavia MainStreet Director Jamie Saam is passionate about this topic. MainStreet encourages residents to check out the Christmas Collective from Nov. 9 through 11 and stop by local mom-and-pop shops on Nov. 25.
“Shopping locally during the Christmas Season, and really any season, is so valuable to the local economy," she said. "The families that own the local shops, restaurants and service businesses live right here in our community or in neighboring towns. That means that the dollars you spend at their local businesses stay local. You are not only supporting that one family who owns the business, but you are supporting their local staff and other community businesses that they work with. Local businesses are much more likely to reinvest and donate to local charities and organizations, too. My favorite part of shopping locally is that you get to interact with the actual owners of the business. You can chat with them to see why they carry certain products and really hear their story. You don’t get that at Wamart or Amazon.”
For more information about the Nov. 26 Celebration of Lights Festival and to view the full list of Holiday Craft Market vendors, visit bataviaparks.org. For more information about MainStreet events, visit downtownbatavia.com.
Katie Drum is the director of marketing and public relations for the Batavia Park District. The “Park District Dish” column runs the second Thursday of each month in the Kane County Chronicle. Contact Drum at email@example.com.