Time is in short supply during the holiday season. Between the shopping, cooking, baking and wrapping, there seems to be precious few hours to tackle anything else. Those who desire an old-fashioned, homemade holiday can still experience all of the seasonal magic by deferring some of the work to local businesses.
Much of the splendor of the holiday season comes directly from the intricately decorated houses and storefronts. Twinkling lights and garlands of fresh pine boughs can instantly transform any building. Decorating a home can take an entire day or more, but delegating the work to a decorating service will provide you with professional-looking results as well as free time to tackle other obligations. Decorators can work outdoors stringing lights and creating a winter wonderland in the fraction of the time it takes homeowners to decorate their homes.
What would the holiday season be without the sweet treats and inviting smells of freshly baked goods? The cooler weather is an ideal time to turn on the oven and whip up a batch of cookies or cakes with the aroma of pungent cinnamon and nutmeg. Others would prefer desserts that provide homemade flair without the effort. Local bakeries experience an upswing in business this time of year as shoppers flock to choose among the pastries, cookies and pies in display cases. Whether a dessert comes directly from your kitchen or that of a local confectionary shop, chances are guests will enjoy each delectable bite. If you have a custom-order dessert in mind, consult with the bakery well in advance to ensure your dessert will be available when hosting friends and family.
Roasts and lavish tables are part of the holiday season, but so are the corporate parties and cocktail events that comprise a social season. Catering a party is an easy way to offer guests delicious food with minimal work. Local caterers can provide everything from sit-down dinners to buffet spreads. Some restaurants that do not normally cater events may offer special packages this time of year. Different customers are vying for the services of caterers within a small window of time. Contract with a preferred caterer early on to guarantee you can benefit from their services.
Social calendars fill up come November and December. When hosting a gathering of coworkers, family or friends, choose local venues for social events so travel to and from the party is easier on guests. Parties can take place anywhere, including movie theaters, bowling alleys, wine stores, and indoor floral nurseries.
Shopping at local vendors often means more personalized service and a less stressful experience. Develop a rapport with a favorite shop owner so that he or she can alert you to private sales or put coveted items on the side. A specialty store may have that unique gift not easily found elsewhere, and shop owners may be able to special-order bulk gifts. Smaller retailers may also offer specialized services, such as gift-wrapping or personal shopping.
Shopping locally can help holiday shoppers save time and support their communities.