When COVID-19 kicked into high gear back in March, Amazon’s sales went through the roof. And for good reason: we were all told to stay home, and how else were we going to buy the essentials? (And, let’s face it, things some might consider non-essential but were essential to boosting our moods.)
I’m grateful to live in the day and age where online shopping is a breeze. I’m thankful for the convenience of ordering things with the click of the button or swipe of a finger. But I’m reminded, this year more than ever, of the importance to shop local. I’m trying to be more intentional about shopping local this year and here are a few ideas I wanted to share with you. Hopefully this will encourage you to think outside of the box this holiday season, too.
One of my favorite Columbia events to attend each year is Crafty Feast. It’s an indie craft fair held in December, and it’s a great way to take a firsthand look at local artists. However, since many craft shows and shopping events are canceled this year, including Crafty Feast, let me introduce you to a few of my favorite local artists, where you can shop.
If you’ve been to anything ever in Columbia, I’m sure you’ve seen Trahern Cook at work. He is frequently set up with his easel and canvas, painting at Soda City Market, First Thursday on Main, and other events around town. (Fun fact: he’ll frequently invite your children to help him paint whatever scene he’s working on.)
Shields is native to the Midlands and creates unique pieces of art. This busy homeschool mom of four somehow finds time to paint exquisite pieces, some of which clearly have ties to the region. (Have you seen her sweetgrass basket paintings?) Shields periodically has her artwork licensed and sold through Hobby Lobby and Kirklands.
I love a good consumable gift! Food is the ultimate consumable gift. It doesn’t collect dust and it doesn’t take up space. I’ve discovered that Lowe’s Foods and Publix have aisles and endcaps dedicated to local items. Mast General Store also has a big selection. For family that lives out of state, they’re getting a gift basket procured by yours truly: complete with grits, jam, BBQ sauce, and other local delicacies.
Another gift that doesn’t collect dust or add clutter to your house is an experience. Columbia has so many cool things to offer! I’ve lived here for nine years, and here are a few experiences that I’ve stumbled upon and loved over the years.
Crafty Palette Studios is located on Devine Street and has classes for all ages. I attended a class as part of a bridal party celebration, and cannot wait to take my 8-year-old back to do some of her own creating.
Columbia Food Tours combines my love of eating and consumable gifts, with my love of experience gifts. My husband and I have gone on two food tours over the years and we still talk about it.
If you’ve never been on a food tour, here’s what you need to know: come hungry and don’t plan to eat for the next 24 hours. This walking tour includes a bit of local history and a lot of eating. Your tour guide will take you to five to seven local restaurants where you’ll sample appetizers, entrees, desserts, and drinks that they’re known for. Do yourself a favor and buy a gift certificate for a food tour and invite yourself along! you won’t regret it.