If like many holiday procrastinators you\'re still facing a shopping trip or two in the remaining days before Christmas, please think about supporting your local merchants for those last-minute gifts and stocking-stuffers. Even the tiniest town has a general store brimming with possibilities. Many off-the-beaten-path gift shops contain one-of-a-kind items. And traditional downtowns are rife with potential gifts, from certificates for movies and dinners to the latest nifty hardware (or hair) accessory or bestseller.

Why drive to some out-of-state mall or overcrowded box store? Use your imagination! Since your gift will be cherished and appreciated regardless of its origin, make it a locally purchased one and keep your dollars circulating through your own community where they will benefit us all. (And you can always use the time you\'ll save shopping in town to bake cookies or just kick back and enjoy the holidays for a change.)

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