Christmas shopping rewards hometown roots

Dave Bergmeier

As the Thanksgiving season has passed by, our appetite now moves toward Christmas. While there is a natural attraction to look to buying online and there are good reasons to do so, we recognize in rural communities sales tax dollars are important to meet local needs.

A year ago when COVID-19’s impact reduced many opportunities to venture out it also crimped many retailers. Today’s economic climate is much different—supply chain disruptions have impacted retailers large and small. Inflation’s bite has likely spiked prices for those fortunate to have found what they are looking for.

Still, there are many opportunities to look to the rural communities and entrepreneurs, who are finding ways to reach out to consumers.

Only the individual shopper knows what he or she is looking for, yet we know that in our stories in High Plains Journal in the past year we have touched on several entrepreneurs who have showcased their skills in rural communities. We have also covered stories about volunteers who have worked to put murals on downtown buildings. Those stories all point to what is great about rural America.

Stopping by a local farm equipment dealer or farm supply store might open a window of gifts that can make anyone of any age have an appreciation of where they come from. Perhaps another suggestion is to make a gift to local food pantries because they often serve people who are too proud to ask for help.

Many churches are also returning to regular services for the Christmas season. Youth programs telling the Advent story of the birth of Jesus Christ will return to many churches after limitations a year ago. The gift our Lord gave us with the birth of his son remains the greatest gift ever.

After a year filled with uncertainty and likely more uncertainty ahead, this Christmas season calls us to support rural communities and businesses who are the linchpin of the High Plains economy. Certainly the importance of commerce this month puts those entities into a position where they can provide services throughout the year.

Those businesses are also the ones that support local students when they are raising monies to go on trips and to attend seminars. The ability to return in kind is much easier when the owner and staff are able to learn firsthand from the recipient, who can also take time to explain how that contribution will be used.

Many of the editorials penned by columnists today have similar themes. They point the importance of the two-way street of buyers and sellers and in our rural communities that’s where the rubber meets the road.

This season—2021—can help us with perspective on what it means to shop in our neighborhood.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].