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Olivia Chapman Headshot

Think Local, Shop Local, Support Local

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With so much technology at our fingertips and more choice than ever for consumers it's easy to understand why we might have forgotten about the great variety and quality of goods and services that are often on our doorsteps.

The internet has facilitated a huge migration towards globalisation over the past 20 years and as a result we can now buy pretty much anything from almost anywhere in the world at the click of a mouse.

Of course this has had its benefits - hence why we have all adapted so quickly - and certain products and raw ingredients can only be found on specific countries or regions.

However the worry is that we are so used to getting what we want, when we want, that rarely do we give thought to where our goods are coming from nor the time and energy that has gone (or sometimes not gone) into making that product.

We've also forgetting about the great products, ingredients, foods and crafts that we make right here in Britain.

We produce some fantastic food and beverages - just think of the variety of cheeses, ciders and chutneys that are available - but when was the last time you tried a Welsh wine or even English tea? There is also a huge amount of high skilled craftsman in the UK - textiles, furniture, pottery, art, jewellery and beauty products are all likely to be within reach from your front door.

This Christmas, I am urging everyone to try to have a 'local' Christmas. Is it possible to find all of the presents, food, drink and decorations you will need from producers and craftsmen in the local area? I imagine it is and you could be surprised about what exists just around the corner.

You make this challenge as difficult or as easy as you like - perhaps just limit the challenge to gifts or set yourself the task of finding everything within a 30 mile radius of where you live. Even if you're not 100% successful, I think at least trying to have a 'local Christmas' will turn into a voyage of discovery.

This might seem more time consuming then nipping to M&S and Argos but it's supposed to be the thought that counts when it comes to Christmas presents, and I'm sure most people would rather receive a hand-crafted, individual, high quality local product than a generic pair of socks or earrings that everyone else in the office will be wearing when they return to work in January.

The other benefit of shopping locally is that you are putting money back into businesses based in your local area, helping them to grow and create new local jobs. By supporting local businessmen and women now and in the future, you are helping to sustain your local area's micro economy and ensuring a happier and healthier community.

Of course, there's also a much smaller carbon impact if you stick to local presents and produce, so it's the green option too.

I've just signed up to a fantastic scheme in my county called Shop Dorset, which helps consumers pick original and individual gifts whilst also supporting talented local artists, craftspeople and small businesses.

By supporting each other, we'll all feel a lot happier this Christmas.