Holiday season is time to show real support for community

The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving is around the corner. Chanukah begins Dec. 1. As of this writing, Christmas is 40 days away—fewer by the time this is published. I am hoping that all the wonderful and unique JP people will work together this season for the benefit of our whole community.

Here’s what happens to retailers around this season: We start planning in August. We plan and project our ordering to make our customers “gift heroes.” We hire seasonal staff and train them. We send out communications to let people know we’re ready. We wait and hope local people turn to us when it’s time to shop.

Here’s what people tell us happens to them around this season: They start thinking about the holidays after Thanksgiving. They’re boggled to find gifts for a range of ages and interests. They depend on one or two weekends in the middle of their busy, busy lives. They end up at the last minute trying to get everything done—from gifts to decorations to family plans—or going on line at midnight.

So what does this have to do with the betterment of our whole JP community? Well, here’s what I think…

Everyone can plan and get so much done right here in JP in just one day!

I’m not just touting my store. I’m touting our gift shops, clothing stores, salons, repair shops and restaurants. JP is a creative bonanza! A box of interesting sauces and spices is a fantastic gift. How about a big envelope with a restaurant gift certificate? (You can give me that, if you want!) How about a beauty spa treatment or a bike tune-up? Tickets to a Footlight presentation, a class at Eliot School or the new Tai Kwon Do studio? There are so many possibilities. We are, after all, JP.

If JP people do this instead of going elsewhere or on line, they will be making a commitment to keeping their business district vibrant and alive for the betterment of our whole community. A vibrant business district contributes to the quality of our lives and to the value of our homes.

If JP people do this instead of going elsewhere or on line, they’re also participating in traditions like the spring Little League parade down Centre Street with kids wearing sponsors’ names on their shirts—names of small businesses that donate several hundred dollars a year for those teams.

If JP people do this, they will be walking the talk of the JP tradition to keep chain stores at a minimum and make small, unique businesses possible.

If JP people do this, they’re being good neighbors. Many business owners are JP residents, too. Last holiday season, several people said to me, “I did all my shopping in JP!”

So this year, for all kinds of good reasons, creative gift heroes who “Do it in JP,” will be doing so much for the whole neighborhood.
Elaine Hackney
Jamaica Plain

The writer is the owner of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop and a JP resident.

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