By Rep. Anita Kulik
While I want to use this column to discuss issues pending in Harrisburg, the reality is that, right now, there are not many new developments. We have been in recess as a result of the election season, and our primary focus, when we return to the Capitol next week, will be on budget issues. We had passed an interim budget, hoping that we could get a better idea of the impact of the coronavirus on revenues.
Instead, let me address not the issues in Harrisburg, but the issues facing us today and in the immediate future. It has been a long time coming this year, but we have finally reached the holiday season. I can only imagine the relief so many of us are feeling now.
We are all in need of family time, some Hallmark movies, and some SIRIUS tunes. There is a lot of good football in the area and so far the weather has been pretty remarkable.
As we all turn to filling out our holiday shopping lists, we may be feeling the itch to go back to live shopping trips. For certain, the ease of online shopping is very tempting. One quick click and packages are delivered within a day or so. But there is something special about shopping live and the stores are all ready to welcome us.
We are blessed in this district to have thirteen towns that have a wide variety of shops, entertainment options and great eating establishments. While Small Business Saturday is still a few weeks off, many places have already begun touting their holiday wares.
Especially after the past eight months, it is important to support our small local businesses more than ever. Within the towns that make up the district I represent, there is every type of gift imaginable that can be obtained from a local business.
We have wine makers, brewers, and distillers that make some excellent craft products, and offer unique experiences that can be had live or virtually. Our restaurants offer foods that rival any in the region and the variety is huge. We have art galleries and artisan shops that offer unique handmade items that support local artists.
There are clothing stores that have fashion choices that you will not find in chain stores. In addition there are coffee houses, antique shops and even bike and scuba shops.
Think of it and you can probably find it at a small business.
In addition there are bread bakers, meat and sausage shops, pierogi makers and cookie bakers. And we cannot forget the local churches that are having live and virtual food fairs and cookie walks. Local fire departments and non-profits are already announcing Christmas tree sales.
As of now, most of the municipalities are planning on some sorts of Santa events to keep the little ones engaged. Some may be live and some virtual, but all will be worth looking into.
Check with your local municipality for upcoming events to make this season the best.
I would love to list all the local businesses in the district, but I know it would miss some and I do not want to do that. They are all exceptional.
To find local retailers, restaurants and other small businesses in your area, search your town’s website, the local chambers of commerce, local CDC’s or community run sites.
It may seem early for some to start thinking about the holidays, but to many it is a much welcomed diversion and chance to feel normal.
We truly need a little Christmas now, and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Whenever you feel it’s time to start celebrating, remember to help out those local businesses that have truly weathered the blizzard that has been 2020.