Shop Local For Christmas

With every day that passes we’re one day closer to the point where there are no more shopping days till Christmas. Does this statement make you feel:

  • Anxious?
  • Fretful?
  • Worried that you won’t get it all bought in time?

Fear not, we are here to help.

Option 1


Making a list and hoping the broadband will hold out

You can take your list and a credit card and sit down in front of the computer. In theory, that should be easy. You’re at home, you have a cup of tea to hand. On the screen in front of you are all the possibilities…

Actually, I find booking the NCT on line less stressful. For a start, all those possibilities… You know little Sean is big into Star Wars, but which one? The book, the comic, one of the EIGHT films? How about a Star Wars figure?  But there are hundreds of them and some characters have ‘young’ and ‘old’ versions (I’m glowering at you, Obi Wan). Is Ren better than Princess Leia? What size are they? Are they small, or just far away? Okay, forget Star Wars, how about a nice jumper – but how do you know if it’s the right size? It says 6 to 7, but is it? And how does it feel to the touch – you can’t tell from a picture. What if it’s horrible and you need to send it back? How much have you spent now? Have you been keeping track? And are all the sites you’ve been on legitimate? Is your credit card safe?

Or…Option 2

You can take the list and put it in your wallet or purse and carry it with you when you pop into Ballaghaderreen or Castlerea or Loughglynn’s Winter Wonderland or any of the many local craft fairs. Okay, you’ll have to take the car, but parking is free and you never know who you might meet. And that cup of tea can be taken, with cake, in company with a friend, in Durkin’s or Benny’s or from one of the catering stalls and someone else will be washing the cup afterwards.

Then ho! for the shops. We are blessed in both our local towns with terrific pharmacies where all sorts of smellies, lotions and potions for all ages and sexes can be got and, as you pass from one to the other, you can stop in at the butchers to order the Christmas meats and to one of our independent grocers or supermarkets for the rest. You can buy a centrepiece for the table from the florist and order a bouquet for that impossible-to-please aged relative of your spouse (or is that just me?) at the same time.
While you’re in town, you can book yourself (or buy a gift voucher for) a hair do and a manicure, run into the hardware for paint for the spare room (visitors are coming), order feed at the co-op, and find that thing that you’ve been looking for for ages.

Wool and needles from Wispy's, the Co-op, and Ballaghaderreen Indoor Market. Basket from Dew Cs.

Wool  from Wispy’s, the Co-op, and Ballaghaderreen Indoor Market; needles from the Charity Shop; basket from Dew Cs.

Or you might bump into Sam’s Handcrafted Jewellery or Black Hen Designs, and order a unique present for that special someone. Or put together a clever present from bits and pieces picked up in a range of shops.

And don’t forget our Charity Shops – a brilliant source of pre-loved toys. You can get bags of Lego bricks, armfuls of books, car parks full of toy cars and lorries, jigsaws enough to keep everyone occupied for the full twelve days and, of course, some great bargains in clothes.

And in each shop, you’ll get a smile and a ‘Merry Christmas’. As you walk from one to the other, there’ll be snatches of carols and Christmas songs that bring you back to other Christmases when you held your mother’s hand and wondered what Santa would be bringing you. In the cafes and pubs, the air will be filled with the scent of warm mince pies; and all the things that make Christmas Christmas-y will be right there.

And if you can’t find that Star Wars thing for Sean, there’s bound to be a John Deere tractor that will please him even more. So, once again: Shop Local for Christmas.

1 comment

  1. Nice post! Amen to that “shop local” sentiment. I am always amazed and delighted that Castlerea and Ballaghaderreen have all those small family businesses surviving. We came here from the UK where any town centre you name looks exactly like any other – all big-name chain stores – Boots the Chemist, generic shoe shops and Card shops. The few small businesses you find have either just started up or are already dying. Huge rents and business rates and taxes make it almost impossible to stay in business for the ‘small guy’.

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