EDITORIAL Shop at home for the holidays

Island County residents can provide Christmas gifts to local businesses and fellow citizens simply by shopping at home.

Those gifts won’t come wrapped in pretty paper, but they are essential to a healthy economy and needed government services.

Some of the gifts are obvious. Businesses, craftspeople and artists who sell their products in Island County need the income from local shoppers. Little of that income goes into their personal bank accounts. It’s used to hire local people as employees, and to buy needed goods and services from other island businesses. The dollars go round and round, benefitting everyone in the community.

Some of the gifts produced by spending money locally are less obvious but just as important. They are produced by the sales tax which goes to local governments. Those tax dollars help pay for myriad essential services, among them police, parks, courts, health care and public transportation. Spend your money in Skagit or Snohomish counties, and your tax dollars are helping those governments. You might as well throw the money into Puget Sound for all the good it does us in Island County.

We are fortunate on Whidbey Island that there’s no real need to go elsewhere for Christmas shopping. Artists and craftspeople turn out one-of-a-kind gifts all over the island, and are in plentiful supply in Coupeville, Greenbank and Langley, all of which have top-notch gift stores.

Islanders in need of the latest gifts in electronic, household items, popular toys and other merchandise from “big box” stores need only drive to Oak Harbor. Even if your idea of a Christmas gift is a new car, you can buy it here and keep the business and sales tax revenue here.

Shopping at home also saves us time and money, as those lengthy trips by ferry or across Deception Pass Bridge become unnecessary. Your holiday season will less hectic and far more enjoyable without the hassles associated with major mall shopping.

Everyone benefits when people shop at home for Christmas. And there’s no better home to shop in than Whidbey Island.

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