Start out the holiday season right: Shop locally | Editorial

Black Friday’s behind us, and the Vashon Island Art Studio Tour is just ahead — a perfect moment, then, for us to sound a note you’ve heard from us before. As you search for that perfect something for a favorite cousin, an aging aunt or your dear partner in life, look first to our local merchants, artisans and entrepreneurs.

The reasons are mostly obvious. Our merchants rely heavily on the success of these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas to get them through the cold and dreary days of January, February and March. A good holiday season can make it or break it for a retail outlet teetering on the edge.

And why should we care if our local merchants are in fine shape? For one, many of them are your neighbors and friends or at the very least people you run into at the grocery store. Unless you’re a cold-hearted Scrooge, their welfare likely matters to you.

Secondly, they just might employ other people you know and care about — maybe a teenager in your life, a friend, a member of your church or synagogue or a neighbor.

Third, the money you spend at a local shop largely stays in the community, providing a ripple effect that helps to make our entire community a tad healthier and stronger.

And finally, like a good friend, our merchants are there when you need them. Think about that time you desperately needed poster board, a new pair of warm socks, a last-minute birthday gift or a good novel for a rainy afternoon. You could run into town and get what you needed, something no online provider can promise.

But it’s a reciprocal relationship: They’re here for us only if we’re there for them.

So start out the shopping season right. Visit the studios of our many remarkable and talented artists this weekend and next and shop close to home. You’ll find items that are quite affordable — candles, jewelry, bowls, scarves — as well as special, one-of-a-kind gifts.

Then head into town to continue your shopping — a CD for your crazy nephew, a book for your intellectual aunt, a pair of earrings for your sister-in-law or a gift certificate to one of our many fine restaurants for that dear friend who has everything.

And know that every dollar you spend on Vashon is your way of voting with your pocketbook, a step towards making this Island of ours a little more vibrant, interesting and resilient.


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