Columns » Voice of Reason

Avoid the tariffs by shopping local

Voice of Reason


November is upon us, bringing with it the start of the holiday season. The real start, we mean, not that soft “side-by-side Halloween aisle and Christmas aisle” stuff that kicks off at big box stores in September.

Regardless, ’tis the season for holiday cheer, meaning food, family, festivities and lots of spending.
Just how much? A survey released Oct. 24 by the National Retail Federation estimates that the average American consumer will shell out $1,047.83 this holiday season. That’s a 4 percent increase from 2018 predictions, and breaks down this way:

• $658.55 in gifts for family, friends and colleagues;
• $227.26 on greeting cards; and
• $162.02 on other purchases that take advantage of seasonal deals and promotions.

It just so happens that all this spending will happen smack dab in the middle of a price-jacking, tit-for-tat international tariff war. New tariffs levied in 2018 and in the first six months of 2019 cost American households an estimated $800 a year, according to PBS and EconoFact, with a burden of $500 to $1,700 projected for 2020.

But don’t despair. By shopping handmade and local, it’s possible to avoid some of the extra costs that are being tacked on to imported goods. Colorado Springs is home to myriad innovative small-scale retailers and makers. And when you purchase from their storefront — or buy an original something wonderful made by an artist, artisan or chef — you not only support their livelihoods, but you’re also pulling your cash out of the world’s money squabble and keeping it at home where it can do some good.
A study by the Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $73 stays in the local economy. So we suggest you consider doing your shopping on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30.

Of course, holiday giving doesn’t have to be limited to things. Here in the Pikes Peak region, hundreds of organizations serve needs ranging from childhood interventions to wild animal rehabilitation; provide food for the hungry and jobs for the physically or developmentally challenged; and educate, inform, advocate for and enrich the lives of the neighbors they serve.
These organizations struggle daily to keep their lights on, and in some cases rely almost entirely on member and community support to stay afloat.

Why not find one that meshes with your giftee’s personal ethics and make a donation in his or her name? We’ll even help you out.

On Nov. 1, we kicked off our 11th annual Give! campaign and will help 100 local nonprofits with marketing, fundraising and storytelling through the end of the year. Our one-stop shop,, lets donors research the different organizations and make a tax-deductible donation directly to the organization(s) of their choice.

This holiday season wrap up a gift that makes a positive impact on your neighbors and your community’s well-being. We’re willing to bet the recipient will appreciate it a lot more than another ugly Christmas sweater.

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