Online shopping

The physical rush of Black Friday and the armchair browsing of Cyber Monday are increasingly blending into one big holiday shopping event.

Recent statistics from a poll by Business Insider indicate that more shoppers were expected to buy gifts during Cyber Monday than they did on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, the two biggest holiday sales days for brick-and-mortar stores.

That news is not surprising. The back room of the Astoria post office is stacked high with boxes bearing an Amazon smile, an astounding display of the amount of merchandise that is bought online from outside of our area and delivered locally to Clatsop County residents.

Although online shopping is part of the new normal for retail businesses, as we are in the throes of the holiday gift-buying season that started in earnest Thanksgiving week, it is good to be reminded that local shopping is a gift that keeps giving to the North Coast.

Local stores keep their profits here. Those businesses contribute to local schools, charities and community events. Many retailers sell locally-made products that support area artisans, manufacturers, farmers, fishers and craftspeople, who in turn buy homes, pay taxes and contribute to the health of our local economy. (Full disclosure: Local stores buy advertising that help keep newspapers publishing — a benefit to the employees of The Astorian, who also buy homes, pay taxes, make donations and purchase items here.)

You might think that shopping inside a store at Christmastime is a nostalgic idea embraced only by those who remember holidays before the internet.

Surprisingly, according to a survey released in July by Shopkick, 55% of Gen Z respondents plan to do their holiday shopping in physical stores. They view holiday shopping as an opportunity to spend time with family and friends, even more so than older shoppers.

We think that Gen Z is onto something. Put down your phone and venture out to local stores during this gift-giving season.

Spend time with family and friends. Indulge your senses in fir boughs, tree lights and Christmas carols at your favorite shopping spots. Share a meal and a cup of cheer with a friend.

When you unplug and shop our local retailers, find a fundraiser or bazaar with unique gifts or give to a local charity, your dollars will be reinvested in Clatsop County.

That’s a gift that gives back to us all.

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