This is my pledge: Whatever holiday gift buying I do, I'm going to do it here, in the Wood River Valley. And I'm going to try extra special hard to do it in the north valley where our merchant neighbors are struggling from lack of population.
Further, if I start to get notions of gift ideas that require going to Twin or Boise, I'm going to turn those ideas aside and decide on something different, something I can get locally. True, I may not be able to afford as much stuff as I could buy at the box stores, but it's time to downsize that habit anyway. Maybe it's a calendar at Chateau, a picture frame at F-Stop, a teddy bear out of Country Cousins, a book from Iconoclast or a pound of coffee from Lizzy's local roasterie—there's thoughtful stuff available, and it won't use much gas, paper, packaging or storage space to satisfy our urge to give.
Even better, it doesn't have to be stuff, it can be experiences. Like lift passes, movie tickets, restaurant certificates, guided adventures, massages, tanning sessions, climbing lessons or gym memberships. Our valley has experiences for sale that can open up peoples' lives.
Perhaps best of all, popping into our local shops is a neighborly and fulfilling experience. I did this last year when I lived in McCall. Sharing a complimentary cider while browsing small treasures lovingly selected by those who bravely create the local economy, one of the unmistakable lessons was that a community depends on this kind of intentional and mutual support. A lasting bonus: It makes friends out of acquaintances.
Locals for locals, you might call it. I hope I see you on the streets.