It’s Christmastime and those who celebrate are making their lists and checking them twice. For me, giving gifts is a favorite part of the holidays. In fact, I’d much rather give than receive. I love to see the faces on my family and friends when they open a gift they love!

This year I wanted to give in a different way. I used my Facebook page (and this blog) as an outlet to encourage folks to buy from small businesses.

The Unintended Recipient

When small businesses are supported, everyone wins! The recipient gets a great gift and a local business person benefits from the sale. I know a few friends who pledge to do all of their shopping locally for this very reason.

I’ll admit it it’s easy to get sucked into the chains and online shopping. The deals are often too good to pass up. But consider giving twice once to your friend or loved one, and once to your local small business owner.

Shopping Bags in Snow

To help those in the Frederick, Md. area out, I’ve compiled just a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Give the gift of imagination and creativity! Who said Christmas shopping has to be ‘work’? Take time to play at Dancing Bear Toys in downtown Frederick. Yes, this an awesome place to bring the kids for some hands-on play with battery-free toys It’s also a fun place for adults to shop and relive our own Christmas memories of pre-electronic toys!
  2. Give the gift of style! Looking for that classic piece of clothing or maybe a stylish piece of home dcor? Silk & Burlap is the one-stop shop for all things stylish. If fashion is a passion, you’ll find something for the fashionista on your shopping list.
  3. Give the gift of awesomeness and strength! One word: CrossFit. Now before you get all “that’s not for methose people are crazyI can’t do that” on me, don’t knock it until you try it. (And if you need to meet the 70-year-old CrossFitter who motivates me, I can arrange that.) You can gain strength, you can gain flexibility and functionality, and you can gain a whole new “family” of supportive coaches and friends. Punch cards and memberships available. And no, your loved one won’t get all fussy thinking “oh, he/she wants me to lose weight.” This is an investment in your future mobility. Check out my personal favorite CrossFit at
  4. Give the gift of hope! Anytime is a good time to give to a non-profit why not give a gift that gives another hope? Girls On The Run is a great organization to support they work with young girls to make good, healthy decisions, improve their self-esteem, build confidence, and prevent bullying – all while training for a 5K! But some girls can’t participate because of finances. Give a gal a chance! She may never meet you, but she will know that someone she doesn’t even know cares about her and wants her to have this gift.
  5. Give the gift of yum! Looking for a gift for your favorite foodie? Sign her up for a class at The Kitchen Studio in Frederick. It’s WAY better than giving yet another pot holder set! Classes are educational, entertaining and filling!
These are just a few suggestions. Whenever you can, please buy local and spread the holiday joy around!
– Lori Rypka is a writer by day and ninja CrossFitter by night. Her passions include all things involving family, friends, fitness and Frederick, Md.