Dear Editor:

This past Saturday, my mom and I (and about a hundred other very chatty friends and acquaintances) spent the best hour at the David Thompson Secondary School Craft Fair in the Community Hall.

I actually spent all of my cash at the very first table, but since there was so much great stuff, and I knew so many vendors, I just kept shopping, on credit (small town advantage). Almost everything was there, naturally and locally handmade, and it was incredibly affordable. Its the next-best-thing to making your gifts yourself. Of course, we had to try a little fresh homemade baking to keep us going until lunch; and the proceeds went to a great cause. Its all good!

We needed to relax after that, so we stopped in to one of Invermeres friendly coffee shops for lunch. The (locally roasted) coffee was fantastic, the homemade soup delicious, and the staff attentive. Actually, the debit machine wasnt working that day, but it was no problem, catch ya next time (more small town advantage). We got to visit with a few more great people while having lunch. Gotta love it!

Later that evening was Light Up, and the famous Santa Claus Parade. Once again, Invermere did a great job.

After the parade, we did a bit more shopping, taking advantage of the sales and freebies the local stores always offer just for Light Up. All kinds of people were out and about, happy and smiling, and having a great time. I just couldnt help but smile!

So keep it in mind as you rush around this December to give yourself a break, and do your shopping here. You really can get almost everything; often more unique or interesting than anything youll find in a mall.

People are friendly and relaxed, and staff are helpful they WANT your business. If you cant find what you want, ask. They can probably get it for you. Consider what it costs in time and gas to drive somewhere else, and factor that into your budget; its not small.

Dont forget about the convenience factor if you need to return something. Remember that your local businesses contribute HUNDREDS of dollars to local causes through out the year. They are owned by regular people who love living here too. Keep in mind that shopping locally is generally friendlier to the environment and puts money back into our local economy.

And most of all, enjoy the fact that you dont feel like the Grinch at the end of the day!

Spring Hawes and Maxine Hawes