OPINION — Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday season – although I think we all put our Christmas trees up a little earlier this year.

Although COVID-19 may put a damper on the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I know South Dakotans will make the best of things – we always do.

So as you start to think ahead to your Christmas shopping keep one thing in mind this year – shop local.

While most physical store sales across the country are down, online sales for big retailers are up. Online shopping through places like Amazon or Walmart can be convenient, but don’t forget your local mom and pop shops up the street this Christmas.

There is a safe way to shop local even during a pandemic. Many of our stores have been forced to adapt with COVID-19, which means they now offer online sales or curbside pick-up options. I’d encourage all South Dakotans to wear masks when shopping in-store this year.

On Black Friday, rather than put my money in the pockets of one of the tech giants, my wife and I are heading to Chamberlain. Our friends are opening a kitchen goods store – supporting local business like these creates jobs, gives back to South Dakotans, and betters our communities.

A dollar spent in South Dakota is a dollar invested back into our own economy.

I’m looking forward to popping in and ordering online from some of my favorite small retail stores during the holidays – I hope you’ll do the same and shop local.

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