Shoppers don’t necessarily need to go to national retailers to find deals and great gifts.
“People are sometimes misinformed on pricing and what they can get locally,” said Joanna Rolek, executive director of the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce. “You can look at books on the Internet or Amazon and it could take a couple of days until you get it. But, you can get the book at a bookstore, look at the book and have it gift wrapped,” Rolek said.
“We say shop local first. We recognize that everything isn’t here, but you can start here,” she said.
Last year the chamber issued $29,000 in gift certificates good for local businesses.
“That’s a nice gift to give someone. It’s a very local thing to do. Supporting businesses keeps our quality of life. It’s supporting our community with the sales tax revenue,” Rolek said.
Pam Hume, executive director for MainStreet Libertyville, said supporting small town business helps keep the downtown alive.
“For every $100 spent in Libertyville, up to $68 stays here and supports our community,” Hume said.
There are many downtown holiday events planned locally.
“You don’t have to go to Michigan Avenue. Just come right downtown to Milwaukee Avenue and see the holiday spirit,” Hume said.
Holiday celebrations centered around area downtowns include:
- On Nov. 25, Libertyville’s Holiday Walk is part of the Tree Lighting ceremony. Downtown merchants will have extended hours until 9 p.m. and will be serving refreshments. Stores will be decked out in holiday decorations.
- Nov. 25 brings the Grayslake Tree Lighting and Holiday Market to downtown Grayslake, from 5 to 8 p.m.
- Also on Nov. 25, Market Square in Lake Forest holds its Tree Lighting Ceremony, which includes caroling, an ice-sculpting exhibit and the opportunity to start shopping early.
- On Dec. 3. Lake Bluff merchants offer a daylong celebration, which includes live reindeer, Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides and more. Storefronts will be beautifully decorated and merchants will offer promotions.
- On Dec. 10, the holiday celebration moves to Lake Forest’s Market Square.
- Dickens of a Holiday in downtown Libertyville, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., includes visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a children's holiday shop at Petranek's Pharmacy. There will also be tours of Cook Mansion and a Victorian Tea at St. Lawrence Church.
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