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Celebrating, Shopping, Giving Locally

Hello all! Happy Holidays! The holidays are a magical time up here in the north. The Polar Express is making kids’ dreams come true. There are tree lightings and hot chocolate, ice skating and, of course, the Pinecone Drop to look forward to. All over the area, communities come together to celebrate together.

I want to take some time this month to encourage all of us to do as much of our celebrating and shopping at local businesses as possible. When we spend money at locally owned businesses, more of it stays in our communities. When we support local charities, that work gets done in our communities. When we invest in ourselves, it’s good for the entire region.

In addition to buying gifts sold in local stores, we can look for gifts that were made in Northern Arizona. Downtown Flagstaff has numerous places to buy locally made jewelry, gifts and art. The same goes for Jerome and Sedona.

While you’re there, have lunch, or take a break at a local eatery! If you’re hosting a company holiday party, consider doing it at a locally owned establishment. There are other ways to stay local this holiday season. Your meals can feature locally grown produce or meat. Your table should absolutely feature local wine and beer. When you use locally sourced ingredients, not only are they fresher and supporting a local business, they don’t have to travel as far to get to your table and it’s better for the environment.

December also brings with it end-of-year giving. I would like to encourage you to consider local organizations. Local groups have their finger on the pulse of local issues. Friends of the Verde is on the ground working to protect the Verde River; Flagstaff Shelter Services serves people in our community every day. I guarantee that your local animal shelter would love a gift of food or toys. Local organizations often don’t have the capacity for a professional fundraising operation, but that doesn’t make their work any less important.

Just as important is the gift of your time. Local schools and libraries can always use an extra set of hands. Food boxes need to be packed, and turkeys distributed. Consider reaching out to a neighbor who might need a hand decorating and packing things away after the celebration.

The holidays are at their heart about community and coming together in love and fellowship. Let us celebrate, together. Merry Christmas, everyone! FBN

By Coral Evans

Coral Evans is the mayor of Flagstaff.

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