Thanks for shifting this holiday season!

Thanks to all of you who shifted your spending this holiday season!  We offered the challenge to keep your holiday expenses local, and many of you eagerly accepted.  And you all succeeded with flying colors!  We were so happy to hear from so many of you all over the state, telling us how you shifted your holiday spending to support local businesses and the local economy.  And from what it sounds like, you were all extremely happy with the personal customer service and the quality and unique items that you were able to find!

Congratulations to the winners of our contest, who received prizes from many unique local businesses!  We gave away a $200 gift certificate to Imagine Wellness Chiropractic, ten class pass to Floating Lotus Yoga, memoir creation from Tara Fort, a $50 gift card to Blue Burrito Grille, one hour therapeutic massage from Desert Song Yoga, maintenance agreement good for Spring & Winter heating & cooling tune up from Premier Air Solutions, lube, oil & filter from Community Tire, and a gift package from Arizona Sunrays.

Here is how Arizonans shifted this holiday season:

"Shop local farmers markets and small school/church holiday boutiques!  You can find lovingly crafted, unique handmade items you won't find anywhere else. I have already picked up two beautiful Native American beaded bracelets as Christmas gifts, and I plan to purchase some specialty preserves, olives, and salsa for gift baskets and hostess gifts! Also I prefer the outdoor atmosphere to the mall any day!"  
-- Melodie, Mesa

"I shifted my spending by trying Practical Art (necklace for my daughter), Frances (scarf for my mom), and Smeeks! Loved them all!"
-- Suzanne

"I am shifting my holiday spending by committing to purchase all of my gifts from locally-owned businesses.  So far, I am halfway through my shopping list -- thanks to trinkets and stocking stuffers from Le Grande Orange, the gift shops of local arts and culture organizations and gift cards to some great Valley restaurants!  I hope that sharing these local treasures with my friends and family will help encourage them to also start thinking more local."  
-- Lauren

"Happy to say that we shifted holiday spending to local businesses when we purchased a $50 gift card from Monti’s in Tempe for my in-laws."
-- Linda

"Bought everything but one item either as a locally made product and/or at a local store. Not nearly as hard as I thouhgt it would be! First time (and soon to be repeat) customer at Practical Art and Changing Hands bookstore. BOTH provided me service no online, and certainly no big box retailer, could too. Loved it!"
-- Eric

"I am shopping local in Phoenix this holiday season! All my gifts will be from local shops.  There are so many businesses to support! I am also making a New Year's resolution to primarily shop locally.  Additionally, I am a flight attendant and on layovers, around the world, I try to frequent shops owned by local people.  It is a great way to get to know new places and have a better connection with the people.
-- Kim, Phoenix

"One of the reasons I love Tucson is the variety and quality of local shopping and dining. This year, my husband and I wanted to make even more of a shift than in the past. We shop at the farmers' market every Sunday at St. Phillips Plaza. It's healthier for us, and supports the local farmers. We particularly love Larry's Veggies, Jack-n-the-Bean Soup, Incredible Snacks, Grandma Santi's Biscottini, Cowboy Joe Coffee, and the Village Bake House. It's not always more expensive to shop local. For example, brewing Cowboy Joe's Coffee at home costs about .18 cents per cup. For all the holiday party gift exchanges, we purchased gift certificates from local merchants: Table Talk, Antigone Books, Details Art & Design, etc. The non-profit, Ben's Bells was personally a great source for gifts this year because the director went to high school with me. The bells make great ornaments. We also decided to do 90% of our dining at local restaurants. (I still need a KFC fix now and again.) Since my husband's birthday in November, we've enjoyed Anthonys in the Catalinas, Gourmet Girls Gluten-Free Bakery and Bistro, Renee's Organic Oven, Guiseppe's, Noble Hops, Claire's Cafe, Vero Amore, Casa Molina, and Picazzos. We've always been supporters of Eegees and Baggins. Services are also better locally. Jasmine, our dog, loves going to Dirty Dawgs to get cleaned up. Simutek is never as crowded as the Apple store. When I need repair on my MacBook, they always have the right part and the right knowledge. Joseph and his team at AZ Power Yoga are much more knowledgeable and friendly than any gym I've ever been too. Because I grew up in Tucson, I want to make sure it continues to have the unique charm I remember as a kid. I know my choices as a consumer will play a part in making that happen."
-- Terri, Tucson

"For Christmas, I bought Arizona wine for friends (Pillsbury, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, Dos Cabezas WineWorks), saxophone supplies for my niece from Mike Nye's Instrument Repair, bicycle gear for my BF from Landis Cyclery."
-- Amy

"This year, I bought gifts, ornaments and some cards from the shops on Roosevelt Row! We also buy our meat from The Meat Shop and our produce from the downtown Farmers Market."
-- Rachel

"It is official. I am eating at locally owned restaurants...The Tuck Shop, Beckett's Table, Lucy's, Rokeriji, Lucy's, etc. Haven't been to a chain (unless it is a Fox restaurant and aren't they locally owned?). I am hitting the stores on 7th Ave this weekend as well as a few I keep passing on Indian School. Can't remember the name of the cute new place on the south side of Indian School with the three is pink. They have great stuff! So.........I am trying to do my part!"
-- Deborah

"I shifted my holiday shopping and purchased jewelery at Rowdy Pink Boutique, clothes at Grow-Op, and a bunch of gift items at Phoestivus!"
-- Christina

"Besides working at locally owned Tryst Cafe, I dine there and my shopping goes to local business throughout the Valley. To name a few just in the past week; Duck & Decanter, Tempe Feed Store, Land of Ahhs, Noble Beast and My Sister's Closet. In the process of changing banking institutions as well!!!! AZ Republic is the newspaper of choice. Yay Local!!!!
-- Lynn, Phoenix

"I shifted a lot of my holiday gift shopping by finding unique and one-of-a-kind gifts at local vintage and antique stores. This was great to find pieces for collectors and ensuring the recipient hasn't seen it elsewhere. It also makes a really memorable and personal gift."
-- Jackie

"Had a lot of Pho at Pho Than, took in a concert at the Crescent Ballroom, a friend went out of her way to get us GF friends little individual chocolate cakes from The Bakers Daughter...and really, almost everything my friends and I eat is local - Windsor, the Farmers Market for Sat. brunch, burgers & salads @ Fez, tacos from Charlies Taco Stand (or Americas)...oh and clothes from Shop Devious! :)"
-- Nico

"I went to Phoestivus with my daughter and bought gifts from local artists and tamales from The Tamale Store! We had a blast and shopped local!"
-- Anonymous

"I live in scottsdale however I always make the trip to Changing Hands in Tempe to buy books and gifts, including this Xmas eve's last minute shopping!"
-- Angela, Scottsdale

"For the holidays this year, I actually managed to do every single bit of presents from local sources. It was a goal I made for myself months ago, and it was a success! Jewelry and accessories from local craft fairs, books from Changing Hands, some clothes and other fun things from Buffalo Exchange. I even made a few gifts using recycled materials. And everyone loved what they received!  This is definitely a new tradition. :)
-- Nic

"Unfortunately, there weren’t enough choices at local stores for the gifts we wanted this year. But we refreshed every time by going to Carly’s for Nathalie’s (one of the waitresses there) special shot (you have to ask for it!) and we did buy our tree from one of the farm lots."
-- Elyse

"Frances, Copper Star, Whitfill’s Nursery, Duck and Decanter, AJ’s, Eightlim yoga, Christo’s, Harkin’s, etc…..and (OOPS) Target. Guess which one got returned? Smiles."
-- Tod

"This holiday season I committed to buy local. First I hired Carolina's Mexican Food to cater our company party. Then I decided to sew market (grocery) totes for all my friends and filled them with Queen Creek Olive Oil, snacks from Tracy Dempsey Originals and locally grown produce. For other local gifts I shopped at the Downtown Public Market and boutiques with local artists and crafters. I also encouraged my family to do the same with our gift exchange theme: buy it local or make it yourself."
-- Hillary

"This year my husband and I decided to keep everything local for Christmas. We bought all of our gifts for our relatives from local stores in Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Mesa. Let me see where do I start. On December 10th we shopped at Smeeks and bought all of our holiday candy and stocking suffers. I actually found a huge pumpkin pie candy cane and some ice cubes in the shape of teeth. We also stopped in Stinkweeds and Frances. On December 14th we shopped on Main Street in downtown Mesa at Blossoms. Blossoms is great if you ever in a bind and are looking for some unique gifts for your mom or sister. I bought a pair of earrings for my sister in law and a really nice scarf for my mother there. On December 16th we went to the Phoenix Art Museum and bought my brother in law a surge protector in the shape of robot looking person. This was really cool since my brother in law is so hard to buy for and we stopped in the restaurant and bought my mom some Bloody Mary Mix. After that we went to Cheuvront's for drinks and dinner before seeing A Christmas Story at the Phoenix Theater. Every year we used to switch between A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker this would have been the year for the Nutcracker but A Christmas Story looked so funny and they are no longer doing A Christmas Carol. Well they did a different version this year at the Herberger Theater. December 21st was the night of Phoestivus. This was huge I went to Short Leash Hot Dogs and my husband went to the Fry Bread Truck for dinner and then we walked around and purchased many of our gifts from the local vendors. We also went to the Phoenix Public Market and bought a bottle of local Arizona wine from Willcox. We actually ended up going to the Phoenix Public Market on Christmas Eve for breakfast at Short Leash I bought my dad a gift card and we went back to the gourmet popcorn vendor that was at the Farmer's Market. What was great about grabbing breakfast at short Leash was the owner recognized me from Wednesday night... We really try to keep everything local and support many local businesses. I actually try to eat at a local restaurant at least once a week. I love to cook so I eat at home most of the time. I found some really great deals at Phoestivus. Also I hosted Thanksgiving this year and purchased all of my produce at the Farmer's Market at RoadRunner Park. You probably already know this but Torched Goodness is there just about every saturday morning."
-- Kristin

"I did some local Christmas shopping, buying gifts for three people at frances. I let go of holiday stress with yoga classes at Sutra Midtown. My favorite gifts that I received were a beautiful box of matches and an Arizona-made candle from Saint 22. And for work, we had our team holiday lunch at Centurion Restaurant."
-- Nicole

"We sourced our Christmas Eve dinner locally. From veggies and breads from the Chandler Farmer’s Market and beef from a local butcher, to groceries from an Arizona-owned store."
-- Michelle

"Instead of shopping at Fry's or Safeway, I went grocery shopping at Bashas and AJ's. I cut myself some slack too and bought Fairytale cookies and brownies for stockings instead of me doing the baking! If I had more time, I would have done more local shopping! However, I am taking my dog to the local groomer, smelly dog in a couple of weeks!"
-- Annette

"First I have to say that I am honored to be part of Local First. I read all the newsletters and always encourage local shopping. I also encourage business owners to join because I think the cause is awesome! How did I support local business during the holidays? I am a personal trainer and running coach. I do free ChiWalking/ChiRunning clinics at running stores. I always recommend Sole Sports. As a matter of fact, I might've told them about Local First and I know they are a members now. They opened their 3rd store in Glendale in November and I supported them by hosting a free workshop at that store on 12/19. Of course that's where I buy all my running necessities and where I bought several Christmas presents. They always support me and my running groups and it's a great win-win for both of us! If you seriously ask any of my runners, they know I don't want to hear it if they went to any other running would break my heart."
-- Lisa

"My granddad had 8 gift boxes he wished to send (in state and out of state) and I researched locally owned businesses to find someone for the job. We decided upon Eleanor Joseph Confections as Eleanor gives a percentage of her profits to charity. In addition we purchased gift certificates from Ma & Pa restaurants – Flavors of India and Autumn Court – one of them used a receipt for the gift certificate which is just priceless. After doing some holiday cleaning I broke two kitchen fixtures and went first to Phoenix Lamps – unfortunately they couldn’t help me. Still looking................ Our biggest purchases were at Easley’s Fun Shop which made Christmas Eve so memorable! There are probably more ways in which we did an Arizona holiday as supporting local business is key to me."
-- Allison

"Here is my list! I actually only bought (3) gifts from a chain so I think I shopped local about 99%: So for fun I am telling you where which includes retail, toys, flowers, candy, bakery, food: Pink House Boutique, Happy Hippie, Drawn to Comics, Cerretta's Candy, Shelley's Specialty Desserts, Glendale Flowers, Bears & More, The Country Maiden, The Cottage Garden I, Coffee & Tea Express, Bitzee Mama's Restaurant, Basically supported my local businesses in Glendale!"
-- Linda, Glendale

"I used Raintree Caterers for a breakfast event. Also, I had lunch at Athenian Greekfood restaurant on Central."
-- Anna

"Not only did I shift just for the holidays but all year round. When doing meet and greets I look for locally owner coffee/tea houses. When doing lunch with clients I look for locally owner restaurants. For buying book I shop locally owner used book stores. Clothes locally owned plus American made and used clothing stores (locally owned of course). Business needs - locally owned. Grocery store - Bashes, Sprouts and farmers markets. Business services - locally owned. My local Barter system as well. This year for Christmas I gave gift certificates, books and made pictures to hang all locally owned!"
-- Christine

"I bought all my Christmas presents (except for a few stocking stuffers for my husband) at locally owned retailers. I discovered some locally owned toy stores called Toy Anxiety and Kidstop and got some great toys for my nephews there. I bought gifts for the adults in my family at the awesome shops in downtown Chandler; the one from di Sciacca was a big hit. I also discovered a new store by the Chandler mall, Green Table Gifts, that has lots of unique and handcrafted items and so I got something really special for the Yankee Swap gift exchange at work and also some stuff for the in-laws. And of course Changing Hands in Tempe never lets me down with lots of books and other gifts for friends and family. You can see my whole Shop Local list I created on Yelp here: thought that trying to shop local for the holidays would be hard but I actually had a great time going back to some of my favorites and discovering new locally owned places to shop.
-- Monica