3 Simple Ways to Genuinely Boost Your Community this Holiday Season

Believe it or not… it’s beginning to look a lot like the Holidays!

It’s so difficult to believe we’ve already made another rotation around the sun. The air is crisper, the music is merrier, and the promise of food and family is just around the corner. In all the hubbub, it’s so easy to allow the stress of gift buying or hosting preparations get in the way of what should be a time of celebration.

With all the stress that sometimes comes with this time of year, sometimes the last thing we have time to think about is how to support our local communities. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s difficult for me to put even one more responsibility or obligation on my plate in between all the dinners, parties, concerts, and events- all wonderful things, but also, a little overwhelming even for those of us who relish in this time of year!

As a local small business owner, I just want you to know that when you make your lists and check them twice this holiday season, there are some very simple ways you can help support your local community in the process!

  1. Pledge to buy at least 1 gift locally.  It sounds so small. It sounds too easy. But really, you have no idea how much that 1 purchase will contribute to a local artisan and small shop owner. Sometimes 1 purchase is the difference between us meeting our sales goals or being just off the mark. If everyone committed to purchasing one gift from a local shop in downtown Galesburg, we would pour THOUSANDS of dollars back into our local economy. Studies have shown that keeping money local helps our dollars to be more efficient, benefiting everyone in the community. TIME Magazine reports “As the nation limps through the recession, many towns and cities are hurting. “Buy-local” campaigns can help local economies withstand the downturn. For communities, this is a hopeful message in a recession because it’s not about how much money you’ve got, but how much you can keep circulating without letting it leak out.”
  2. Attend One Community Event. The reality is, it’s difficult to care about your community when you don’t know your community. Community is formed through the establishment of individual relationships. For those who were born in Galesburg, sometimes we take for granted that we already have relationships based on time spent growing up together. BUT, there are new people here- new businesses, and new individuals. Not only should we strive to develop deeper, more fulfilling relationships with others for our individual happiness, but we might be surprised at what this community can truly offer if we only exist in our preconceived notions of what people are “like” in Galesburg. The truth is, we have a diverse group of people who bring a lot to the table! Just attending one community event could open your eyes to people and activities in this community that you never considered. Relationships are forged through shared experiences; if we spend more time together, it’s likely we’ll discover there’s a lot more to care about in Galesburg then we ever thought possible.
  3. Be patient with small business owners; they are doing their best to offer you one-of-a-kind experiences. When we decide to commit to making a few purchases locally or attend events, we need to remember that these experiences are being crafted by people who’ve decided to spend their lives trying to build a better Galesburg. Most small business owners don’t go into business for the money; of course we want to make a living like anyone else would, but we’ve made this decision because we see the potential for GREATNESS in Galesburg. We want you to see the opportunities that we see. AND we want you to have unique experiences that only small business can provide. Please be patient with all of us as we work to provide you with services and experiences that only our unique businesses can offer. We may make mistakes along the way, but we genuinely want you to have a better Galesburg.

So, as you begin to dive into this often hectic, but beautiful time of year. Please keep in mind, that you can do simple things to bolster your community. The first step for community development, I deeply believe, is mere consideration. Consider that your choices make a huge impact on our community, and that you are an essential factor in whether we build the community in which we’d all love to live, or not. I am personally so excited about Galesburg’s direction… I can’t wait to see how we pull together to make her the vibrant community we’d all love to experience!

I always love to hear your thoughts and opinions about our posts… please feel free to share!

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