‘Twas just over two weeks before Christmas and I had my shopping complete but what excites me most is that I’m having an Amazon-free Christmas. This year, I intentionally shopped local, with only two of my dozens of presents ordered online from the direct retailer.

I enlisted other’s talents to create a few gifts rather than buy them. I’ll be gifting homemade, handmade, and heirlooms as well as a few non-traditional ways to share some cash. I went to a small-town shopping area and let myself be inspired by what was in the stores rather than setting out to look for something specific. I could see the delight in the eyes of the business owners when I made purchases there – making me feel as if I was giving them a gift instead of just buying one.

But in addition to helping the economy, I feel good about helping the environment. This year an estimated three billion packages will be shipped – 800 million more than last year. I think about the sheer volume of three billion boxes, never mind the plastic bubble inserts or the gas that trucks use to transport them from warehouses to homes. I’m glad I didn’t require daily deliveries of my treasures.

It has been said that where you shop for the holidays this year will determine where you will be able to shop next year – meaning that if small businesses don’t make up some of their pandemic losses during this season, they may not be around in 2021. So, do your economy, environment, and recipients a favor and use these remaining shopping days to visit those local places. I guarantee the owners will be far more excited than Jeff Bezos that you are shopping with them.

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