Thanksgiving is a week away, and with that comes the launch of the shopping season.
Our glossy Holiday Guide magazine also hits the streets next week. You can peruse the many upcoming local events and find out what local stores have to offer.
All of us at the Islands’ Sounder, Journal of the San Juans and Islands’ Weekly wish you a joyous and safe holiday season. We hope you enjoy well-deserved time with loved ones and avoid the anxiety the holidays can sometimes bring.
One way we have learned to shake the stress is to shop locally. Skip a trip to the mainland with its crowded parking lots and long lines, where often the money you think you save by leaving the island is lost on ferry and gas fees.
On islands known for their residents’ self-resilience and unique charm, shopping locally isn’t just a luxury but a way of life. Support your friends and neighbors by purchasing exclusive, quality items that embody the local culture while helping the islands’ residents.
According to the American Independent Business Alliance, about 48 percent of each purchase at local independent businesses is recirculated locally. Each dollar spent at small businesses returns three times more money to the local economy than one spent at a chain and almost 50 times more than buying from a large online retailer like Amazon.
Having said that, some money is funneled back into the local economy, even when online shopping in the form of state sales tax. As of 2018, online shoppers must pay the Washington state sales tax, even when making purchases from an out of state retailer. When shipped to a local island address, San Juan County receives that sales tax income. In addition, you can shop at smile.amazon.com and 0.5 percent of the price of eligible products will be donated to a charitable organization of your choice, including those in the San Juan Islands.
There are opportunities to check out wares from island artisans during a variety of fairs and bazaars. According to the San Juan Islands Arts Council, the islands have also been known to have double the art sales per capita of King County, which has approximately 2 million more residents than San Juan County.
• Are you looking for holiday gifts for loved ones? Maybe you’re looking for a new piece of art to hang on your living room wall? From now through Saturday, Dec. 14, Orcas Senior Center is hosting a holiday silent art auction. Bidding ends at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, along with a fun holiday celebration that will include homemade treats and cider.
• The seventh annual Children’s Market is from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30 at the Orcas Island Library. Local kids ages 5-18 years old are selling original, hand-made items priced from 25 cents to $10. Interested youth vendors should contact Rachel Bishop at email@example.com, or complete a sign-up sheet at the library by Tuesday, Nov. 26.
• American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 93 on Orcas holds its annual Holiday Bazaar from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the post facility, located at 793 Crescent Beach Dr.
• A longtime island style holiday tradition, the Artisan’s Faire returns to the Odd Fellows Hall on Orcas for its 30th year the first weekend in December. The fair runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8.
• The Artisan’s Holiday Marketplace on San Juan Island features the “best of the best” creations by San Juan County artists at Friday Harbor Elementary School. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 30.
• Fairgrounds Flea and Craft Market boast more than 50 regional vendors in the main building of the San Juan County Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7. Vendors can apply online by going to www.sjcfair.org.
• The popular, European-style, Old-Fashioned Christmas Market will light up historic Brickworks in Friday Harbor again this year. Festivities are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14.
• The Lopez Union Cemetery’s Annual Wreath and Craft Sale runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 27-Dec. 7.
• On Small Business Saturday in November, the Lopez Cooperative Preschool Holiday Bazaar celebrates its 40th year in the Lopez School Gym. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30.
• On the first weekend of December, Lopez Islander Resort hosts an annual Holiday Craft fair. The sale is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 7 and 8.