Why You Should Shop Local this Christmas


Anna Huener

This article was edited on December 11, 2020. The onset of the pandemic has created a plethora of local challenges, one of them being income for small, local businesses. In addition to the positive environmental aspects, shopping local aids businesses during the pandemic in a time of great need. Since the publishing of this piece in December of 2019, websites have been added to the list of businesses to encourage online ordering and curbside pickup.

Sleigh bells, snow days, ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’: the holidays are here, and many are thinking about gifts for loved ones. This year, consider giving in a larger way: shop local.

Modern shoppers love to buy online. The allure of quick delivery without leaving the comfort of your own home is practically irresistible. Online shopping is often less expensive. However, this convenience comes at a cost.

Americans spend a trillion dollars on Christmas gifts every year. 76% of all US consumers shop online, according to a study by NPR. This means sites such as Amazon, Nike, or Apple are all top choices. While these websites are convenient for gifts, they must be delivered, leaving the environment with a not-so-merry gift: carbon emissions. For each parcel delivered during the holiday season, there is a multi-step process that leaves quite a large carbon footprint. The average package only produces six ounces of Co2, but large discrepancies must be accounted for when ordering from China, or across the country. The packaging and delivery of such an online gift creates excessive waste, and this waste only increases when the package is delivered via express shipping, or worse, returned. 

In order to avoid this unintentional pollution, there is a clear alternative. Instead of jumping on your computer this Christmas, try buying local instead. Much of what can be found online can be found in stores as well. Burlington itself has its own little marketplace of Church Street, in addition to the entire downtown area and the University Mall. While going out and physically shopping may feel like an inconvenience, it truly is a gift to the environment, and you’ll find that it’s much more fun than ordering from a bland website. In addition to the environmental aspects, local businesses take a blow. 

Burlington’s Church Street Sparkles during Christmastime.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.

The Christmas season is a big deal for boutiques and shops. The preparations are obvious: festive lights, wreaths, and decorations. One can make an event out of it – Burlington stores need business, and spending an afternoon shopping for others is both pleasant and resourceful. Combine hot chocolate from Kru with a trip to the Church Street Boutiques, and you’ve got a perfect winter day. Local shoppers support not only the environment but their community as well.

My suggestion for you this holiday season is to go outside your comfort zone when shopping for gifts.  Shopping local demands that we rethink what we give, and how we give it.  Although buying local may seem more expensive, there are always holiday deals, and a variety of stores to choose from. Consider visiting a thrift store when looking for a unique gift, or purchasing from an up-and-coming artisan. Less expensive options are always available. In the end, your Christmas shopping habits are up to you. However, consider giving this year not only to your loved ones, but to the earth as well. Happy shopping!


For Pricier Options:

  • Frog Hollow – 85 Church St, Burlington, VT 05401, United States https://www.froghollow.org/shop
  • Whim – 62 Church St, Burlington, VT 05401, United States


  • AO Glass Works – 416 Pine St, Burlington, VT 05401, United States


  • Bennington Potters – 127 College St, Burlington, VT 05401, United States

(temporarily closed)

Middle of the Road:

  • Trinket – 32 1/2 Church St, Burlington, VT 05401, United States
  • Common Deer – 210 College St #101, Burlington, VT 05401, United States


  •  Spirit Dancer Books & Gifts and Star Root Aromatherapy – 180 Flynn Ave, Burlington, VT 05401, United States


  • Phoenix Books – 191 Bank St, Burlington, VT 05401, United States



  • Battery Street Jeans – 115 College St, Burlington, VT 05401, United States
  • Burlington Records – 194 College St, Burlington, VT 05401, United States


  • Kiss the Cook – 72 Church St, Burlington, VT 05401, United States