In our opinion: Everyone should shop local for the holidays

Shopping local is always a good idea everywhere, but this year there are more reasons than ever to browse for holidays gifts at shops, markets and bazaars on Whidbey Island.

Merchants, artists, artisans, crafters, producers, growers and others rely on residents to spend money locally in the Christmas season.

The Whidbey Art Market, which opens on Black Friday, is one of many options shoppers will have for finding truly one-of-a-kind Christmas presents, as well as art pieces for their own homes. It takes place this year at Freeland Hall.

Those who enjoy crafts should keep on an eye out for holiday bazaars that will be held by churches, charitable groups and other organizations on Whidbey.

Shops in downtown areas of Langley, Coupeville and Oak Harbor offer a unique blend of shopping options, from collectibles to art to decorations to humorous gifts and much more. Shopping in the areas is a cheerful holiday experience in itself, with lights and decorations and special holiday-shopping incentives by merchant groups.

Nurseries on the island are also a wonderful place to do Christmas shopping. Bayview Farm and Garden, for example, is known for its holiday decorations and festive atmosphere for shoppers looking for unique gifts.

Shopping locally is also better for the environment because there is far less transportation involved, plus it beats waiting and fretting for packages to arrive.

Post offices across the island are already struggling to keep up and the situation will only get worse. In fact, the U.S. Postal Service began slowing deliveries of first-class mail nationwide on Oct. 1.

Supply chain shortages and transportation problems will inevitably continue to wreak havoc in the holiday season, and it won’t just be Playstation 5 this year. The loud container ships anchored in Holmes Harbor while awaiting room at the port are a sign of the times.

The COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on holiday shopping last year, but this year there’s no reason things can’t return to relative, festive normalcy. Get out and shop, but just remember your mask.