EDITORIAL | Skip the holiday madness, shop local

By starting the consumer shopping frenzy called Black Friday a day early, several large retailers are being criticized for eating away at Thanksgiving Day, a traditional time for family gatherings, feasting and reflection.

Whidbey residents can easily avoid the madness and keep the holidays merry by shopping on the island. Whidbey Island has an abundance of unique shops and is great for thoughtful gift items all season long.

This weekend brought us Small Business Saturday. It’s a nationwide day in which shoppers were encouraged to browse independent businesses in their own backyards. But if you missed it, no worries: there are more opportunities to be had.

In Clinton, the Clinton Holiday Bazaar runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, and is an event offering both gifts and good times with live music and food.

Langley is host to Country Christmas at the Fair, which offers a variety of locally produced goods and will be open through Sunday, Dec. 8. The city is getting festive with its Deck the Doors program, and shoppers are eligible to win a $1,000 shopping spree when they spend at Langley stores.

The Bayview Holiday Market, Saturday, Dec. 7, is another surefire place to pick up presents for the family that are made right here on Whidbey Island. It’s the second of four planned holiday markets with the last two on Dec. 14 and Dec. 21.

Other seasonal venues include Eddy’s Repurposed, a pop-up shop in Freeland. It’s a reincarnation of the former Eddy’s in Langley and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Dec. 24.

Last but not least, a holiday market at Greenbank Farm is open every weekend until Christmas, offering high quality and one-of-a-kind gifts handmade by local artists and artisans.

Up north, Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce programs in place are designed specifically to lure shoppers into island businesses. The Great Wish List Assist is basically a gift registry where participants fill out a wish list and leave it at a store of their choice. Then, gift givers can go and request the list to ensure that certain someone will get exactly what he or she wants for the holidays.

Holiday shopping on the island helps to maintain and build the Christmas spirit. There are no monster traffic snarls, crowds of sweaty shoppers or fisticuffs over a handful of discounted electronics.

This year, enjoy the community with fellow islanders, glimpse Whidbey’s magnificent scenery, take in the Christmas lights and decorations and maybe stop by to chat with friends at a coffee shop.

And, there are other reasons to shop Whidbey, such as supporting the island’s economy, the local tax base, and so on.

Most importantly, there truly is great shopping on Whidbey Island, whether you are in search of books, decorations, antiques, jewelry or something else. Shops, galleries and studios are filled with the wares of artists, craftsmen, farmers and vintners.

Enjoy the holidays. Shop at home.

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