Shopping Local for the Holidays

Sandra Waugh Watercolor of Red Rowboat

Sandra Waugh Watercolor of Red Rowboat

Dear Reader:

How are you doing on your holiday shopping so far? I’ve been taking advantage of lucky opportunities that pop up–like yesterday’s trip to Portland for a Jim Brickman performance at the Portland Museum of Art.

Heading toward the museum for the performance, I noticed a Reny’s department store across from the parking garage. Hello! I don’t get into Portland that often, so the chance to pop into one of the branches of a Maine-owned department store was like an early Christmas present to myself.

Reny's Department Store Logo

Reny’s Department Store Logo

I’m fairly pleased with my local shopping progress this holiday season. I’ve bought books by Maine authors at public readings, handcrafted jewelry from the funkiest little shop--Maine Jewelry and Art--in Bangor on Plaid Friday (local answer to the mall’s Black Friday horror story), c.d.’s directly from musicians at performances (ahem, did you catch that Jim Brickman reference up there?), makeup from a local Avon rep, clothes from that Reny’s excursion yesterday, and a few things at Goodwill.

Fly Fisherman painting by Sandra Waugh

Fly Fisherman painting by Sandra Waugh

I’ve also ordered Christmas cards from my good friend and fine artist, Sandra Waugh, who lives right here in my town. That is her “waughtercolor” at the top of this page, such a cute, little red boat skillfully rendered, floating between sea and sky. This and other select paintings are for sale right now, but Sandra also creates beautiful watercolor portraits of loved ones, children, and pets from photographs you mail to her, like this one of the fly fisherman.

I am in awe of that kind of talent! Please visit her website at and/or private message her on Facebook at

With the shopping well-underway, I guess it is time to start looking toward decorating the tree and holiday recipes. Food shopping for holiday meals can be a bit challenging (I need an egg source!), and I will write about that in another post as we get closer to Christmas. In the meantime…

I challenge you to buy at least ONE item this year from a local merchant or small-business owner, knowing that when you do so, much more of that money gets sent back into the local economy than if you spent the same $$’s at a mega-corporation. Want more reasons? Visit the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website for the Top 10 Reasons to Support Locally Owned Businesses.

Happy Holiday Shopping, everyone!

8 responses to “Shopping Local for the Holidays

  1. Great information and inspiration, Shelley! Admirable effort, and it sounds like you’re quite successful at it…good for you!

  2. I’ve met your challenge! You are an inspiration as Cindy says in the above comment. You are also a good friend…..I’m on the egg hunt for you.

  3. This is a great time for holiday craft fairs and school bazaars. A wonderful place to find treasures and support a community organization. I’ve met the challenge so far- looking for a local place to buy a dance bag- that’s my big challenge so far.

    • Awesome, Mary Ann! The more we do this, the better our communities will be. Hmmm, a dance bag. I wonder if someone could custom-make one for you? Someone who makes fabric bags (ala Vera Bradley)?

  4. You mean the kind of dance bag with a drawstring on the top? Those would be really easy to make, if you can find someone who sews at all. Try asking at local fabric, quilting, or alterations shops.

    And what I really dropped by to say was that I scored a bunch of lip balm and body lotion at my local farmer’s market over the weekend. Locally made stocking stuffers! The farmers use their own beeswax to make them, so try your local honey producers.

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