Once again your friendly but prone-to-procrastination Planet Natural Blogger has left his holiday shopping until the last weekend. This is not the overwhelming problem for us last-minute shoppers that it appears to be. There’s an easy solution. Shop local! Your locally-based retailers probably have just the thing to delight those on you gift list. In fact, when you’re looking for unique, thoughtful gifts that show you had the recipient in mind — as well as in your heart — local business often have that one-of-a-kind item that stand apart from the same ol’, same thing that everyone is buying at the big box store. Better yet! It may have been produced locally, too!
Now, we’ve written on the reasons to shop local before. But all the pluses — supporting the local economy and your neighbors who work at locally-owned business (ie, profits stay in town rather than being shipped to Arkansas or some place) — are magnified this time of year. Especially this time of year, it’s great to shop in a cozy place with helpful, present-and-available clerks who have the time to help and make suggestions. Considering the size of your town, you might even know these people. In our humble estimation, that’s what makes a great shopping experience.
So your generous though running-late (see “procrastination” above) Planet Natural Blogger is especially blue this Christmas because he’s far away from his former home, beautiful Bozeman, Montana, unable to go to the one, locally-owned store that could fill all his holiday shopping needs. Do I need to say it? But if I were present (ho, ho) in the hometown of Planet Natural, I’d be heading over to the retail store and making nice.
You could get a classic garden tool for your favorite backyard cultivator or maybe a composting how-to book or gardening manual to give them something to do in the months before the thaw. Books make great gifts! But there’s a lot else, too; like natural body lotions for the winter-challenged skin of your loved ones (locally-produced!), a great selection of hot sauces and salsa for the heat-loving gourmet in your life. Natural lip balms! Kiss me! Why there’s even special items for you dog! And what could better demonstrate your love for your family and your concern for their health than natural cleaning products for your home? (Hint to guys: don’t give these to spouses… maybe put your own name on the gift tag with a promise to clean the bathroom once a week… now there’s a gift she’ll love!)
Stuff for kids? Why not get them started gardening with window sill kits or an indoor-growing set-up, gifts that won’t only be fun for them but educational, too. Science project ideas? How about a worm composter or a Bokashi kit? Then there are Planet Natural hats and shirts (my PN cap gets a lot of compliments here in Santa Fe) and other stocking stuffers. Browsing here, no matter the time of year, is always a rewarding experience.
And really, I shouldn’t be blue. There is such a thing as 2-day shipping, though I’m cutting it close. It’s only Wednesday! Next year, I start my shopping early early… I promise! And maybe, just maybe, if I’m extra good (ha!) Santa will grant my wish and I’ll be shopping locally next year in my favorite and much-missed local locale (ho ho, again!). What could be better than Christmas in Bozeman?
Eric Vinje founded Planet Natural with his father Wayne in 1991, originally running it as a grasshopper bait mail-order business out of a garage.
Eric is now retired, but is still a renowned gardener known for his expertise in composting, organic gardening and pest control, utilizing pesticide-free options, such as beneficial insects.
Eric believes when you do something good for the environment, the effects will benefit generations to come.