Halloween is past, Thanksgiving nears and Christmas is within eyeshot. Soon, we will shop for our loved ones, and many people are already worried. Even if we have the money for gifts, will we be able to buy them? Or will supply chain problems block us from doing so?

Well, I for one am not concerned about my household, and I would like to explain my reasoning.

First, though I love a good gift, I am not consumed with the materialism of the holiday. I have received $10 presents that are much better than $200 ones. The secret, as any successful Santa can tell you, is that a present should be well considered. One should think about the receiver, know that person’s needs or interests and give an item that fits.

A good gift need not, then, be expensive. It does not even need to be purchased at all. I, for one, would love to receive a poem or a painting from someone I know well. And I think a lot of people feel the same way.

Sometimes, it is the thought that matters.

Second, we need not worry about supply chains because those chains can be shorter than we often make them.

Last week, I attended a holiday bazaar in Irrigon. You can read about it in this week’s newspaper, if you are inclined and you want to see a place where good gifts could have been bought. At that event, I only bought a loaf of cranberry nut bread, but I met another vendor from whom I will buy something else. In fact, I picked up a few good present ideas from that bazaar.

And that event is not the only one.

On Monday, Julie Puzey, publicity for the 2021 Hermiston Festival of Trees visited the Hermiston Herald office. She pointed out that the festival, which will take place Saturday, Dec. 4, will be another great opportunity to buy local. Read the community brief about how to purchase tickets in this week’s Hermiston Herald. It should appear on page six, two pages away from the column you are reading right now.

Puzey told me that there will be many items for sale and for auction at the Festival of Trees. Still, there are more places for holiday shopping, more events and more auctions, but also many local stores.

Our local towns are chock full of stores and restaurants where we can find goods. Often, they offer the same things that can be purchased on Amazon. And, given the choice between a local shop, and a mail-order service, we should choose the shop.

For our local stores are often owned and operated by our neighbors. When we buy presents from them, we are also helping them be successful.

Personally, I would rather support my local bookseller than send a dime to fund Jeff Bezos’ next trip to space. Likewise, I would rather go to a local antique shop than eBay, a comic shop than Amazon and our local Lego store than some sketchy internet retailer that is headquartered thousands of miles away.

Be certain, some of our local stores will run out of inventory, especially if we are shopping the way we should. Not all of them will end up empty by Christmas Eve, though.

If I am wrong about this, and supply chain failures do rob us of our holiday bounty, let us fall back to my first point — Christmas should not be about material things.

This holiday, in particular, as we look back on the lives lost to pandemic, we ought to remember a higher meaning for the season.

If we have each other, we have enough.


Erick Peterson is the editor and senior reporter of the Hermiston Herald.

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