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 that the holidays can sometimes bring.
One way we have learned to shake the stress is to shop locally. After your fill this Thanksgiving, do your Black Friday and Small Business Saturday shopping on the island to take part in local deals. Skip a trip to the mainland for 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 that are known for its residents’ self-resilience and unique charm, shopping locally isn’t just a luxury but a way of life. This holiday season, avoid the temptation of online sales and support your friends and neighbors instead 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. That means the money you spend on the islands helps your neighbors secure items like the down payment on their first home; summer camp for their children; or the first class of their college career. Spending money locally also ensures that your favorite restaurants, stores and artists remain near your home to continue supplying the goods you crave.
In addition to shopping at local stores, there are opportunities to check out wares from island artisans. 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.
The American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 93 will hold its annual Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 1, at the post facility, located at 793 Crescent Beach Dr., from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. This year it will be an expanded event with more local vendors with their fabulous crafts. The auxiliary will have their bake sale: homemade candies, cookies, cakes, pies and their popular freshly made horseradish! The Soup Bistro will feature two delicious homemade soups (taco and split pea), with a roll. The bistro is a great spot to warm up, enjoy friends and savor great food. Tickets will be on sale for the famous baskets. The drawing for the baskets will be at 3 p.m. You do not have to be present to win. Basket themes this year are “Kids,” “Kitchen,” “Christmas,” “Seahawks” and a special dog basket in honor of veteran service animals. Raffle tickets will also be on sale at Island Market on Saturday, Nov. 24. All proceeds go to support veterans’ programs and the community.
The Artisan’s Faire will return to the Odd Fellows Hall for its 29th year the first weekend in December. The fair will run on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be food served downstairs by Delmi and her team at “Cocina Latina.” At around noon on Saturday, the fair will receive a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. All purchases will earn free raffle tickets for gift basket drawings at the end of the fair. You need not be present at the drawing to win one of these deluxe baskets, but you do have to come shop at the fair. Each year, the fair spreads the holiday spirit a little further by making a donation to a local charitable cause. This year the donation will go to April’s Grove, OPAL’s newest affordable housing project.
The sixth annual Children’s Christmas Market will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Orcas Public Library. All items are handcrafted by island children between the ages of 5 and 18. Come and check out a treasure trove of greeting cards; candles; hand-carved toys; felted and knitted wares; beach glass art; salvaged art; baked goods; sweet surprises; and so much more. Prices start at 25 cents with a maximum cost of $10. New this year, older children are invited to sell homemade hot drinks and food.
If you have friends and family off the island, source a local gift to send them a piece of the San Juans this holiday — your loved ones will thank you, and so will your neighbor.