As the nation has struggled to face the novel coronavirus pandemic, Daily Kos has covered the enormous burden the Trump administration has effectively placed on the shoulders of small business owners and their employees. We know, for example, that Black-owned companies have shut down at close to twice the rate of other businesses. In fact, almost half of all Black-owned small businesses have already shuttered, or are in dire danger of closing, due to the pandemic. A sweeping number of women business owners have closed their doors indefinitely because of the virus—and a lack of federal relief and support.
That’s why it’s especially important to support small businesses this holiday season. One way of doing that is to order gifts from your local (or, thanks to the internet, not so local) bookstore. While buying books—especially by marginalized writers and artists—is an awesome move, bookstores can often meet a number of other gift-buying needs, too. Let’s explore some below.
Many bookstores sell a number of stationery items, like notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, calendars, and planners. Some bookstores also sell their own merch in the form of T-shirts and tote bags. Bookstores also sell items that are great for small-scale exchanges, stockings, or acquaintances; think witty magnets, mugs with charming phrases, and literary-themed socks. As always, buying a gift card is also a solid move.
You might be thinking: Sure, sounds great. But what about the shipping time? What about delays? What about presents for kids? One word is especially handy during a global pandemic: patience.
Delays are a great opportunity to teach patience and gratitude. Does anyone want to deal with a crying fit on the morning or evening of a holiday celebration? No. However, gift delays are the least of many people’s problems during a literal global pandemic. Talking about presents not arriving in time for the usual family celebration is a great opportunity to make big-picture issues digestible to young people. For example, you can talk about how your neighborhood mail delivery person is trying extremely hard, but the United States Postal Service is overworked, underpaid, and, frankly, undervalued. What can your kid take away from that? Patience and empathy.
Delayed gifts can also be a lesson in supporting things that are meaningful to you—if you want your charming small bookstore, filled with personal touches and diverse titles, to actually stay open, that may require both making purchases and not yelling at an employee and demanding a refund when your item takes longer to arrive than it would have from a certain big company. If you have room in your budget to give gifts this holiday season, consider putting those dollars where your values are.