Sunday, December 23, 2012

80% Local in The Perfect Storm - Gloucester MA

Are you ready for Tuesday?  I can’t believe how fast Christmas came this year….I seem to say that every year….this year I really mean it though.

The last couple of weekends I have really helped boost my Christmas spirit.  I’ve been “shopping local” and trying to find just the perfect thing for everyone on my list.  

Town tree in Gloucester...totally constructed with lobster pots (or
traps for non-Yankee's)
Last weekend I headed to Gloucester (about 30 minutes from my house) to explore – you know where they filmed the Perfect Storm (and of course the locale of the story the movie was based on).

Gloucester MA
photo source
 There is some irony here given sometimes Christmas shopping can feel like a bit of a perfect storm.  Well, Gloucester last weekend was just the opposite…it was a lovely day and without exception everyone I came in contact with was exceptionally warm and welcoming.  

Lovely proprietor-ess at Pearl's.  She really cared about everyone
who came in and thoroughly supported my 1 for you, 2 for me habit.
222 Main St., Gloucester MA
There are a mix of vintage, green specialty, and general boutique shops on Main Street.  There are also a couple of antique bookstores where I absolutely could have gotten lost in for days…it took all the self-restraint I had not to.  But I trekked on and I definitely checked quite a few gifts off my list.  

Oh my, so much bright shiny goodness at Banana's

How fun is this?
74 Main St., Gloucester MA
Couple of “lessons learned” from this 80% local shopping experiment:
  • In general I have found the local business folks provide a higher level of service than the big box stores…almost every item I bought was wrapped in a bag with tissue & ribbon that can double for holiday wrapping so I don’t have to rewrap everything.  Can you imagine that happening at Wal-Mart?
  • No question there is a much more feeling of community when you are actually shopping in your community!
  • The traffic/parking problems of heading to the mall…non-existent. I found on street up front parking everywhere.  Now the parking goddess tends to sit on my shoulder in general (some folks are lucky in gambling, I am lucky in parking) but I didn’t see a lack of parking anywhere.
  • You can find the perfect gifts in some of the most unexpected places….I scored big time at the local hardware/lumber store.  They had a little specialty nook with specialty gifts and home decorative items. 
Building Center
1 Harbor Loop, Gloucester MA
Some lovelies at the Building Center
More lovelies from the Building Center
  • There are certain things that are just impossible to find anywhere but a big box these days…try finding a small inexpensive camera at a local camera shop…for my 8 year old niece (who doesn’t read this blog so I’m not spoiling anything here) so a $200 camera is a bit overkill…we’re talking $50 price range here.  So Best Buy it is and this falls into the 20% non-local budget.  
Funny side story about why I went the camera route for an 8 year old.  A couple of years ago my nephew (who will be 17 next month) got an ipod touch for Christmas.  He wanted one sooooo bad so his other favorite aunts pitched together and bought it for him.  He has really coveted it ever since.  Well, the niece got a hold of it one day and cracked his passcode and decided she would leave him a little gift….250+ pictures of herself!  She just went to town  posing in every way you can imagine a then 5 year old would, with and without Barbie.  We all (including her) thought it was pretty funny…my nephew not so much.  So this year she gets her own camera.

Self portrait
So I have thoroughly enjoyed taking a little time and exploring the wonderful businesses in my area.  Really the only negative for me was it became harder to fight the “one for you, two for me’s” when I was faced with so much loveliness at every stop.  I definitely ended up spending more this Christmas but only because Santa was very very good to me this year :-)

May you all have a very Merry Christmas with all of your families & friends.

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