Nothing says “Merry Christmas Y’all” quite like a Southern gift.
The South boasts a strong sense of community, a broad range of natural splendor, and a region full of natural-born history buffs, innovators and artists. Hometown pride and hospitality are at the heart of a Southerner. What better way to support your region, state or hometown than getting a little creative and making an effort to shop Southern this season.
Next week, consumers’ attention will turn toward the big chain stores as shoppers prepare to battle it out for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond. On November 22, amidst the frenzy, communities have the opportunity to show their support for local businesses during Buy Local and Shop Small Day. These national campaigns encourage residents to shift their patronage to local small businesses. Head down the street to your favorite bookstore, boutique, coffee shop, university or jewelry store and show a little neighborly love while also crossing a few names off your gift list.
Show Some Holiday Spirit
Team spirit and school rivalries run deep in the Deep South. Support your university and surprise the sports fan, alumni or student on your list with a gift from the campus shop. College bookstores and team shops often offer exclusive merchandise, and everything from jerseys to Christmas décor is available on campus or online. With bowl season around the corner, a pair of tickets to the big game would most certainly be appreciated.
University Ag programs present a unique way to shop Southern. Schools like Louisiana State University and Mississippi State operate dairy stores with products made on campus. MAFES Sales Store, better known as MSU’s Cheese Store, takes online orders and ships Edam cheese, meats and more during the holiday season. Even avid LSU fans have been known to visit MSU dairy in Starkville if they can’t shop the LSU Ag Center Dairy Store, which sells cheese in flavors like Cajun Spice and Yellow Tiger.
Shop a Pop Up
Southerners love a good story. Maybe that’s why many of us love to hunt for second-hand treasures. With a history as rich and diverse as the South, the “junk” that surfaces at flea markets and antique stores tells a tale of past lives and future possibilities. Antique stores, craft fairs, flea/pop-up/holiday markets are the ideal place to find vintage or handmade gifts. Special holiday markets will open up as Christmas approaches, like The Twelve Days of Christmas Market at The Rusty Chandelier in Laurel, Mississippi, featuring Christmas-themed vintage, upcycled and handmade items. Search for a sale in your area and support your local merchants and artists. Here are a few upcoming markets across the South: Holiday Pop-Up Sunday in Raleigh, North Carolina, on November 23, Vintage Market Days in Dallas, Texas, through November 23 and Southern Junkers Pop-up Holiday Market in Memphis, Tennessee, on December 13.
Up for Adventure?
For a gift that will be remembered for years to come, give your family and friends a Southern adventure amidst the rolling hills, emerald coasts and towering pines this holiday season. From a weekend stay at a cabin in the Smoky Mountains, an airboat tour of the Louisiana swamps, or a day of zip lining through the pine trees at Bar-T Adventures in Mississippi, the possibilities for Southern adventures are endless. Take a road trip and explore literary landmarks in several Southern states with the Southern Literary Trail App, or ski North Carolina. Whatever your passion, the South can accommodate you.
The official Deep South Holiday Gift Guide will be up next week, so stay tuned for more ways to Shop Southern!
Featured photo from The Rusty Chandelier’s Facebook page.