This post obviously isn't going to hit the freakshows who were at Kohl's or Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. (Oh, and I realized Kohl's is technically shopping local here in Milwaukee, but stop trying to justify.) Instead, if you think "gee, maybe I have to run over to Target or Best Buy later today, or I may brave the mall..." don't do it, here are 10 alternatives for you:
10. The Our Milwaukee Local Business Alliance. They'll give you a great listing of places to hit up. After all, for every $100 you spend with local business, $68 is kept locally (versus $43 with a national chain)
9. Unleash your inner creativity! Bucketworks hosts a Holiday Make-A-Thon from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. TODAY.
8. While re-gifting for the holidays is a little tacky, giving recycled gifts is awesome! Buy a t-shirt from Teecycle.org for all the quirky loved ones in your life. Plus, $1 of every sale goes to the Milwaukee-based River Revitalization Foundation.
7. Explore Milwaukee! Start with the shops of Brady Street...continue on to the Historic Third Ward...
end down in Bay View's eclectic shopping district.
6. Need to stay suburban? I adore the cute little main streets in Tosa Village, Shorewood, and Whitefish Bay. And if you can make the trek, Cedarburg is always quaint.
5. Being a Material Girl is so 1985. Give the gift of helping the community and donate to local non-profits this year.
4. If pure donations are hard to grasp, consider a membership with some of the fantastic organizations providing outreach, education, and just generally cool stuff in Milwaukee -- like The Urban Ecology Center, The Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery World, The Park People, and so many more.
3. Give the gift of the arts! Sometimes I think the United Performing Arts Fund needs a "randomize" button on their website so you can try tickets to all the new troupes that emerge. Prefer your performances on celluloid? Then throw a membership to Milwaukee Film in someone's stocking!
2. Patience is a virtue. Wait for upcoming events like the Easttown Holiday Market (December 3), HoverCraft (December 5), and/or the Give Local, Buy Local Fair (December 5).
1. The mother of all local bazaars - Art V. Craft - takes place tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Humphrey Masonic Center. Right across from my apartment, I'll definitely be there!
What are you doing to keep money in the local economy this holiday season?