If you shop at a farmer's market or belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), you know the benefits of buying local. Not only can you support small, local businesses, but you often have access to unique products. When you are planning your holiday gift-gifting and celebrations, think local as well. Support your local yarn shop, or independent book store. Look for craft fairs that feature artisans from your area. Give gift certificates for performances by local arts organizations. For years, I've done at least part of my holiday shopping at a craft fair sponsored by my university. I bought some of my most cherished ornaments from a vendor there, one of my former students. Beats mass-produced from Hallmark, any day!