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9 Things You Can Do To Support Local & Make A Difference This Holiday Season

No matter your budget, you can show local businesses some love.

The holiday season is a favourite time of year for many people, and it's finally here!

Your celebrations may look a little different this year, but supporting local never goes out of style — and right now, it's more important than ever. 

Small businesses are the heart of each community, and there's no better place to find that one-of-a-kind gift for your special someone.  

That's part of the reason why TD is encouraging Canadians to visit local shops this holiday season and share their finds or suggestions with the hashtag #GiftLocal. 

Throughout the pandemic, TD has helped keep small businesses open by finding solutions to some of the issues they've faced.

TD's New Digital Customer Study found that 57% of Canadians say that local businesses in their communities now offer more digital shopping and service options than they did before COVID-19.

Whether you're able to shop while physically distancing in-store or are shopping online this winter — whether you have a tight budget or no budget, here are nine ways you can support local and make a difference this season. 

1. Stroll Through A Christmas Market

One of the most exciting parts of the holidays is checking out the many goodies that community merchants have to offer.

If your local Christmas market is still open or offering curbside pickup, there's no telling what amazing stuff you'll find, with everything from maple treats and local cider to handmade jewelry and candles.

You can enjoy enjoy a hot chocolate, admire the twinkling lights, and take a moment to remember just how great your town or city is. Share your fun times on social media to encourage others to visit too.

2. Get Presents From Neighbourhood Businesses 

Getting the same gift your friends received? So passé. Break the trend by snagging unique finds at local shops.

Your dad would love a locally-made hot sauce, and mom would be delighted with a gift card to a nearby spa. Grab some coffee beans from a nearby cafe for the coffee enthusiast in your life.

Through TD's latest campaign, Canadians are encouraged to show their support by purchasing from local businesses and sharing images of gift suggestions to inspire family, friends, and others to do the same, using the hashtag #GiftLocal.

3. Like, Comment & Share On Social Media

Since you’ll already be sharing your favourite gift ideas with #GiftLocal, why not help out small businesses even further by engaging with their social media — no spending required. The more you engage, the more their content is shared with a wider audience.

Like posts about new products, save photos for holiday inspiration, comment, and tag your friends to show them your cute finds and share your story.

You might just be the reason for a whole new group of dedicated fans.

4. Have Holiday Meals Catered By A Local Cafe Or Restaurant

What's the holiday season without a savoury meal or sweet treat?

Let a professional chef take the pressure off of get-togethers by ordering a catered meal or dessert from a small business in your neighbourhood.

In recent months, your own kitchen might have become a little too familiar, and eating out while eating in is the best routine buster. Plus, no one will have to coin toss over who does the dishes (when it comes to cooking anyway).

5. Pick Something Out At A Christmas Tree Farm

If you're looking for a super festive way to get some fresh air, support local, and find the perfect tree to decorate, opt to visit a local Christmas Tree farm instead.

Plus, the smell of fresh pine in your living room? Little else beats that!

6. Make Any Day A "Small Business" Day 

Start a new tradition — one that can extend far beyond the holiday season — and make a commitment to buy local during your Sunday shopping trips, for example.

Grab yourself a coffee at a locally-owned cafe to start the day off right, head to your small grocer for some goodies, and spoil yourself or a pal with a cool item from a nearby shop.

7. Create A Local Gift Guide

Get creative and put all of your gift-giving skills to use for the greater good. Come up with your own local guide for the best presents you can find in your community.

Maybe it's a collection of handmade items, the wackiest discoveries, or the sweetest bakery treats.

Share it with your family and friends, whether you have an audience of ten or 1,000. You might just become your community's new favourite holiday influencer.

8. Refer Friends & Family To Your Favourites

Maybe you think that your purchases aren't making much of a difference for small businesses during these tough times, but they are.

Imagine the impact you could have together with friends and family through word of mouth. Your $20 purchase could turn into over $200 in revenue just by sharing that you had a great experience with nine of your loved ones.

Even if buying isn't in your budget this year, let everyone know how much you enjoy that special gift shop or local fromagerie.

9. Leave A Good Review & Make It Count

How many times have you looked up the star rating and reviews of a restaurant or shop before checking it out? When it comes to supporting local, social proof is key to encouraging new customers to visit.

While you may want to keep your hidden gems to yourself, they can use all the support they can get. Reading other people's positive reviews is also a great way to discover new favourites.

Find the business online and rave to your heart's content. Not only might you convince someone to try someplace new, but you'll also make a local entrepreneur's day.

The pandemic has been especially tough on small businesses, but this holiday season is when they can really shine.

Your fave mom and pop shops have adapted to entirely new business practices to remain physically distant, move online, meet new health measures, and even offer delivery or curbside pickup options.

You can give back by opting to #GiftLocal this holiday season.

For more details, check out the #GiftLocal campaign, visit TD.com or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To see what other Canadians are asking for this holiday season, follow #GiftLocal on Instagram.