Manitoulin provides a plethora of gift-giving ideas

To the Expositor: As the holidays approach, large factories everywhere are kicking into high gear to provide us with monstrous piles of goods to give. As times are getting tougher and each of us wonders what to buy and where to buy, this could be the right time to start thinking outside of the “Big Box.” It’s time to buy local. To buy and give a gift that has its roots right here in Manitoulin. It is a good way for gift givers to see their money go towards encouraging local community development and local business awareness. What to buy? And where? The possibilities are endless! Everyone gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local hair salon or barber? Or a yoga lesson gift certificate? Or a Thai massage gift certificate? Or a couple of jars of locally produced jams, jellies or honey? A locally written book? Gift certificates for “ten cups of coffee” at one of our small, locally owned establishments? Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, locally owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates. Perhaps you are a more extravagant giver. Your grateful gift receiver might just be one who would appreciate a free gym membership? His lawn mowed for the summer or driveway plowed all winter? Games at the local golf course? Gift certificates for a couple of free meals or a half dozen breakfasts at a local restaurant? A year’s subscription to the home delivery of your local weekly newspaper? How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a local shop run by someone who is trying to make a go of it right here on Manitoulin? Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would love the services of a local cleaning company for a day. My computer could use a tune-up, and I know I can find some young person who is struggling to get their repair business up and running. Okay, you were looking for something more personal. Local craftspeople spin their own wool and knit them into scarves, quilts and blankets. They make jewellery and pottery and beautiful boxes. The possibilities are endless. It is all about a tangible way of supporting those who invest their time and energy “making a go of it” here on Manitoulin. Helping them keep their doors open is a gift to all of us. If Christmas is about caring, encouraging locally owned small businesses to keep plugging away is one we can show we care about our communities and those who call Manitoulin home. The benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine and you may want to send this to off-Island residents or summer residents who are wondering just what to give you or others for Christmas. Gary Champagne Spring Bay