Introducing Mamatoga Holiday and our Buying Local Gift Guide

While I was out picking up some last minute Halloween candy on the day before Halloween I noticed a shop employee pulling all the Halloween candy off the shelves and replacing it with Christmas items and the Halloween section was already being dismantled to make way for the already growing Christmas section overtaking it. When I was younger I used to rail against this practice, "It was just Halloween! How are they already putting Christmas music on?!" I would rant while walking through the aisles of some store while listening to "White Christmas" being pumped through the sound system. But now, as a mom, I look at the calendar and start to have a mild panic attack thinking about all the things I have to do, and all the things I would like to do, by the time the holidays roll around. And also as I get older the holiday schedule seems to chug along quickly going from Halloween right into Thanksgiving and before I know it I'm doing last minute shopping on Christmas Eve in one big egg noggy blur. Not this year Mamatogians! With the extra nesting factor kicking in now that I'm in the home stretch of this pregnancy, my urge to get organized is stronger than ever, and here at Mamatoga Central we want to help make the holidays as smooth as possible for all of you as well. This month and next month we're going to be doing a bunch of features on the holidays and how to survive them in style.

  • This month one of the special features we're working on is a special Thanksgiving recipe collection for any gluten free mamas or anyone with a milk allergy, we already have a ton of great recipes to share!
  • We're also putting together our Mamatoga Moms and Kids Choice Awards for 2011. We're going to have you all vote on what your favorite local restaurants, shops, salons, gyms, doctors, dentists, events are and more. It'll be just like the other "Best Of" type awards that are voted on locally but we're going to do ours with a family twist to it, which restaurants are the most kid friendly and the best preschool, etc. We want to hear it from you mamas!
  • We'll be doing lots of Christmas cookie activities, we want you to share your favorite recipe with us!
  • We're going to tell you where you can buy local food for your holidays meals, local turkeys, local meat and of course local produce, baked goods and candy!

Our favorite part of Mamatoga Holiday is going to be our Buying Local Gift Guide. Besides there being an amazing selection of local shops and restaurants to choose from, it turns out that there are many reasons why shopping locally helps us all. One of the first major studies to look at the difference between shopping at local stores versus big chains was a study done in Austin, Texas. The study found that for every $100 spent at a locally-owned store, $45 stayed in the local economy. For every $100 spent at a chain like Borders or Home Depot, however, the local economic impact was only $13. A similar study in Maine found similar results. They discovered that shopping local kept three times more money in the local economy than shopping at chains. Besides the economic facts, check out these top ten reasons to shop locally.

1. Protect Local Character and Prosperity

Saratoga Springs is unlike any other city around. By choosing to support locally owned businesses, you help maintain what makes Saratoga Springs special and loved by all of us who are lucky enough to live here.

2. Community Well-Being

Locally owned businesses build strong neighborhoods by sustaining communities, connecting neighbors, and by contributing more to local causes (like we saw this past weekend at our Momster Bash!).

3. Local Decision Making

Local ownership means that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.

4. Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy

Your dollars spent in locally-owned businesses have three times the impact on your community as dollars spent at national chains. When shopping locally, youalso create jobs, fund more city services through sales tax, invest in neighborhood improvement and promote community development.

5. Jobs and Wages

Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some areas, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.

6. Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.

7. Public Benefits and Costs

Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls.

8. Environmental Sustainability

Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers like the one we have in our fantastic downtown area, which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.

9. Competition

A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.

10. Product Diversity

A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices. So when you shop at a local shop chances are you're going to be getting something special and different, not one of millions of the same items you'll find at a national chain store.

So stay tuned to Mamatoga this holiday season, in addition to our Buying Local Gift Guide and tons of other features, we're also your go to place for finding out about Holiday events going on around town, and there are plenty to choose from!