Make your shopping extra-meaningful this holiday season with intentional strategies to give back to the Eugene, Cascades & Coast community with every dollar you spend. Here are four ways to check off the gift list and double down on doing it nicely. Not only will these thoughtful gifts brighten the recipients' day, your direct purchases from local vendors will help put food on another family's table too!
1. Step Out to Support Small Businesses
If your favorite shopping is hands-on, visit the Holiday Market at the Lane Events Center for an array of local, artisan-crafted gifts. This is the Saturday Market at its maximum! From utilitarian to luxurious, there are so many creative items on display — goats milk soap, fire irons, leather-bound books, embroidered dish towels, pottery, jewelry and silk-screened t-shirts. Additionally, explore smaller craft and holiday markets hosted by local granges, Chambers of Commerce and neighborhood associations. Two annual markets are the Veneta-Fern Ridge Chamber Holiday Bazaar which highlights a trail of local businesses and the McKenzie Christmas Bazaar at the Walterville Community Center.
Explore the local shopping districts that are known for locally-owned boutiques. Popular destinations include downtown Eugene, and the Market District, the Whiteaker Neighborhood, Main Street in Springfield, Main Street in Cottage Grove and Historic Old Town Florence.
2. Shop Online — Locally
Shop online all season—not just Cyber Monday. This is a surprising twist to the Amazon-dominated online-shopping space, but it is possible to enjoy the comfort of shopping from home and still support small businesses! The last few years have expanded the online infrastructure of small business gift card programs and online shopping with delivery.
Eugene, the Fern Ridge area and Veneta have all created beautiful online hubs for the crafty makers in their neighborhoods. And Springfield has a Willamette Valley gift card program for shopping at participating regional stores. Florence is promoting its Flocal e-gift card program for holiday shopping. Recipients may use the pre-loaded balance at any participating Florence shops, businesses or restaurants — so much flexibility!
3. Give a Gift that is Needed
Our local businesses and families would appreciate extra support this season. Look for charitable opportunities to gift community members basic items from clothing to food to supplies.Willamalane in Springfield has organized a holiday charitable drive in partnership with multiple organizations. On their website shop for toys for children in need; give gift wrap, food, cash donations or volunteer your time.
The communities of Oakridge and Westfir are recovering from the 2022 wildfires in their vicinity, and as diminished air quality and home heating has been a reoccurring challenge every winter, Oakridge Air has organized programs that provide residents with air filters, home heating upgrades, cleaner burning firewood and educational support.
Shop the local grocery stores and surprise a family with groceries for a special meal. Food for Lane County is a reputable, long-serving non-profit that operates local food pantries, a dining room, food programs for children and seniors, and even helps feet pets!
Toys for Tots is always beloved and they make it easy to brighten a child's holiday. The Hope Project is also a resource for your charitable contributions. They connect local donations with a diversity needs.
If you are looking for ways to get involved locally, or for local businesses to work with, contact our regional chambers of commerce. The chambers are very involved in helping small businesses navigate the troubled waters of today's world, and can connect you with beneficial programs, services, charities, advocacy and/or local shopping ideas.
4. Gift an Experience
Give the Gift of Oregon — Stay Somewhere Fun Right Here
Travel and adventure have the ability to create beautiful memories that last forever. One of the best gifts you can give your loved ones is something to look forward to: a new experience, an evening out or a getaway. If you're looking for ideas, here are a few: Book a room at the beachfront Driftwood Shores and splash in their pool. Then take the kids horseback riding on the beach. Or stay in at a hotel in the Glenwood area between Eugene and Springfield and explore Springfield's Main Street. Shop at all the charming new boutiques, eat at the great restaurants and try something unusual like axe throwing! Sneak away to a comfortable metro hotel and enjoy an evening show at the Hult Center, or rent a cabin on the McKenzie River for a cozy weekend. The nearby places to go are endless.
Love Your Local Restaurants, Wineries, Breweries & Distilleries
Set the table with the bountiful food and beverage produced locally. Not only is the quality and taste superb, you are helping an industry that has been navigating pretty big hurdles the last few years. Now that doors are back open, go in and enjoy a meal away from home.
Book a Tour or See a Show
From a chauffeured wine tasting tour to enjoying a performance on one of the local stages, there are so many experiential gifts to enjoy. Both Very Little Theater (VLT) and Cottage Theatre have been recently remodeled, while The Shedd has also had a fairly recent facelift and is fully hearing looped, making it easier for everyone to enjoy. Along with beverage tours, you can get future gift certificates for fishing, rafting and other excursions to be used in the spring.