We all love getting gifts. Birthdays, anniversaries, and the entire month of December bode well on our list of days we like a whole lot. Most of us also like buying gifts too. That is, until we start walking into store after store, emptying our wallets, getting bumped into, and being attacked by hundreds of neon lights. That's when it's not fun anymore.

The other pain is not knowing where to shop, or why, or what everyone has in stock this season. Shopping local is noble, but nobody would argue that the click of an online shopping cart is a lot easier.

So to inspire your community to keep shopping local this holiday season, here are some ideas for turning your shop into a go-to stop for gift-giving.

Get crafty and create a gift guide

Get out there and create a gift guide. Who says your city or some local organization needs to put it together? Get out into your community and find special items at all of your local businesses. Get a designer friend to put together a guide that you can distribute, much like the Providence Ladies Project did for their city of Providence. Don't forget to include yourself, of course!

Wrap all of their gifts for them

Spend less time looking out the window and more time wrapping gifts. Your all-in-one service of shopping and wrapping will be a serious perk to wrap-shy shoppers. Just the gifts they bought with you, though!

Be their personal guide

Even if you don't have the time to create a big gift guide like above, you can certainly create one for your store. Come up with a gift guide that you can hand out to everyone who walks into your store. It can be as simple as a list on a sheet of paper!

Organize the store by giftee

Avoid the glazed-over look by priming your store for shopping season. Arrange your shelves, or design signage to point guests in the direction of who they're shopping for - mom, dad, kids, or the person who has it all (a great opportunity for selling gift certificates!)

Some creative niches for gift-giving:

  • Tailored towards hobbies and passions. Try gifts for gardeners, crafters, foodies, writers and athletes.
  • Busy professionals. Clothing boutiques can highlight clothes and accessories for work or for relaxation time!
  • Eco-friendly. These products are ideal for the environmentally conscious.
  • New moms. Moms can never have enough gifts for their new baby, but they are also open to gifts that help them pamper themselves a bit!
  • Pet lovers. Some people count their feline or canine “children” as part of the family too, so pet boutiques would do well to promote some specials and gifts for the animal parents!

Get into the holiday spirit

Gift shopping is usually a good type of stress. Welcome in shoppers from the streets with hot cocoa and cookies to warm their spirits. Play holiday music to brighten their mood.

Tame the lines

The one thing people hate about shopping is the lines, the waiting and the general rudeness of people during the holidays. Do your best to create a calm environment. Pull an Apple Store when your lines get long by having someone tend to them, handing out cookies and smiles. Also, try creating a children's play area so that all of the runners and yellers are in one place.

Even though you're a business owner, you're also a shopper. Share some of your ideas in the comments!

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