If you’re a jerk like me, or lovably lazy or mercilessly overworked, you wait to the last minute to buy your loved ones presents for the holidays. The easy thing to do in a pinch is to get out the plastic machete (your credit card) and go hacking through the Amazon consumer forest. I’ve done it a hundred times, but this year I dare suggest you shop locally. From the specialty periodical stand at Lester’s (where we’re hosting the Sketchy Holiday Party Thursday night) to the crates of vinyl at Sweat Records, there are plenty of local shops with the goods to make your family and friends remember why they tolerate you during the rest of the year. For those on house arrest, the SweatShop is probably the best site online to get Miami-made merch, including music by many of the artists featured in our epic Top 50 South Florida Songs of 2011 list, t-shirts (ours will be in there soon!), locally pressed books, and even pungent bags of Panther Coffee.
So, my fellow well-meaning procrastinators, before you subject yourselves to third-degree Kindle burns on Amazon, peruse the local produce and consider using your hard-earned greenbacks to bolster a local, independent business. There are many more worthy options than I mentioned here, so feel free to shout out your favorite local vendors in a comment and to share your 305 finds. You’d be doing me a big favor, since I’ve yet to buy my family, my friends, and my pet a single thing.