11/27/2013 3:49:00 PM Let's go on a LOCAL shopping trip Tara offers some great ideas as she takes you through the Christmas Shopping and Events Guide, inserted in this week's paper.
Tara offers some great ideas as she takes you through the Christmas Shopping and Events Guide, inserted in this week's paper.
By Tara Lindquist
Shopping locally isn't always easy. Especially, when you live in a small town and your choices seem to be very limited. Grocery store gift cards? The kids probably won't be to enthusiastic about those come Christmas morning, but a grandparent probably would be. In an effort to highlight local businesses, Community News Corp has put together a shopping guide, to help aide you in your holiday shopping adventures, or torture, whichever way you look it at. We're trying to help not only our readers, but also local businesses. Buying locally is important, we all know that, but I don't think a lot of us realize just how important it is. Whenever tragedy strikes and someone is hosting a benefit to go towards ongoing cancer treatments or when students are in need of money for school sports or activities it isn't the big box stores that are opening their wallets to help, it's the small town businesses that are seeing their neighbor or friend in need and supporting them. So this holiday season, lets do our best to help support the businesses that support our communities.
So grab your list and let's see how much we can get accomplished by buying from locally owned businesses before we head to the big box stores.
Depending on what age child you are shopping for, the ease of shopping varies significantly. Young kids are awesome at going through the toy catalogs and circling just about every toy as a "must have" and toys are fun they're easy and be honest you kind of want to play with them first.
Before you head out to Rochester, first check out Kasson Hardware Hank, the Kasson Variety Store, Kasson Dollar and Video, Dodge Center's Baier-Kamp Consignments and other local thrift and consignment shops you will be amazed at the variety of great finds right in your area.
Al's Farm Toys, has something for both boys and girls. This is Al's last year in business and if you look closely he's offered a buy-one, get one toy free on a lot of his inventory. The coupon is located on his ad in the shopping guide. Al not only carries farm toys and tractors he carries a wide array of classic family games, puzzles, Usborne Books, Chugginton Wooden Trains, Thomas the Tank, Manhattan Toy Dolls, Melissa and Doug, Spy Gear and more.
The Children's Exchange is another great spot to buy both used and new kids' toys and clothing. You won't walk out empty handed you'll be able to cross a few things off of your list.
Ok, pre-teens and teens are a little harder. By this age, they've outgrown toys and let's be honest their wants and "needs" get more expensive with each passing year.
Tech is always in high demand, phones and cell phone accessories seem to top the lists along with iTune or Google Play gift cards those can be purchased at local gas stations, no travel required.
Looking outside of the tech realm, there's still clothing. How about customized team gear? Hayfield T-Shirt, does custom embroidery for local sports teams. Most schools also have team apparel available to purchase, the money is used to help fund sport programs.
There's also entertainment, sport passes can be purchased through local schools, to get into sporting events, Uncle Mony's in Hayfield offers gift certificates for bowling and food packages and Kasson Dollar and Video offers gift certificates as well.
Expressions Salon in Kasson offers great hair products for girls and guys that make perfect stocking stuffers. For the teen drivers in your family, Freerkson car washes are a simple idea for another stocking stuffer.
College "Kids" or soon to be graduates
For the kids that are now out on their own, their needs and wants tend to be a little more dowan to earth than the high school teenage set. Gas cards are always an easy idea, so is a gift certificate for car maintenance or repair from Claremont Service Center. Savings Bonds are a great way to start off a young person's, retirement fund, they can be purchased at Citizen's State Bank in Hayfield, Mantorville, or Dodge Center, as well as First Farmers and Merchants Bank in Brownsdale, Kasson State Bank in Kasson and First Alliance Credit Union in Byron. You could also be very generous this holiday season and spring for a brand new futon, or couch or dining room table from Brick Furniture in Austin or from Bair Kemp Consignments in Dodge Center.
Grandparents are always the ones that say "oh, we really don't need anything," and they're probably right. So what do you buy them? No matter how old you are or how much stuff you already have, there are some basic needs that never go away. Grocery store gift cards are always going to be used, everyone needs to buy food. Sunshine Foods in Dodge Center offers them, as does Ryan's Foods in Hayfield. Ryan's Foods is also home of the infamous Oslo Herring now. Stamps, our grandparents still write letters, address envelopes and send them through the postal service. Another great idea is locally made candies from the Chocolate Shop in Mantorville. Christian Book and Gift offers great family mementos. Mantorville Theatre offers advanced ticket sales.
Restaurant gift certificates are a safe go-to for not only grandparents, but also parents, aunt's uncles and that weird second cousin twice removed that shows up every Christmas. Locally we are blessed with great eating establishments. In Mantorville there is the Hubbell House, The County Seat Coffee House, Otto's Bakery in Byron, Happy China in Kasson and the Langtry Café in Brownsdale. Another great idea is a family photo session from Fotos Forever or Sonja's Studio, both are located in Hayfield.
For your parents
Are you still living with them? Then all we as parents really want is your room to be clean, not have laundry pile that we could lose a small child in, and maybe if you're feeling extra generous - cook once in a while. For those of us that are no longer living with our parents, it's a little trickier. For mom, Northern Sky Alpaca Shop has a great assortment of alpaca fiber scarves, blankets and socks, they're not products that you commonly see. Houston's offers gift certificates for spring flowers. For dads, you can pick up just about anything he could want from Hardware Hank in Kasson.
For all the extra people in your life
A Touch of Charm, in Blooming Prairie is a great stop to pick up last minute gifts; they will be open Christmas Eve and have something for everyone, from scarves to unique antiques to home décor. The are also a full service flower shop. Garten Market Platz is another great place stop for unique gifts and home décor. JD Coins in Rochester stocks collector coins. Mantorville Art Guild is home to many local artists' work and has anything from home décor, crocheted hats and scarves to one-of-a-kind paintings.
After you're done with your Christmas shopping stop at Harold's Club or Joe's Liquor and pick a little something up for yourself, you've earned it! Happy shopping!