Shop Cheshire this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 09:45 22 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:01 22 October 2020

Joanne Goodwin, editor, Cheshire Life

Joanne Goodwin, editor, Cheshire Life

Archant

Our independent traders need us says Cheshire Life editor Joanne Goodwin

Eastgate Street Chester, with Christmas lights hanging from the impressive Tudor black and white buildings
Photo: GettyEastgate Street Chester, with Christmas lights hanging from the impressive Tudor black and white buildings Photo: Getty

It’s customary around this time of year, when we start talking Christmas in Cheshire Life, to be met with a collective groan: “Not already; it’s too early; we’re only just past Hallowe’en… (or Bonfire Night); we haven’t had any summer yet…” is the general response.

Yet this autumn, in the twilight of this extraordinary and exceptional year, and as with everything else that has marked it, the prospect of Christmastime seems to be meeting with a different response. The celebrations themselves will certainly be unusual. For many families and friends it will be a time of separation. For all of us there will be uncertainty and anxiety.

But there is this sense, too, that people are looking forward to celebrating Christmas 2020 in a new (or perhaps a more meaningful and traditional) way; as if it is both a marker of the close of this appalling year and a chance to wrap ourselves in a blanket of peace and goodwill: to find respite and to try our best to feel comfort and joy in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

November and December are a hugely significant time for our retail and hospitality industries – for those businesses that have strived to survive against the odds as lockdown has decimated their hopes, dreams, and revenues, in the past months.

With 2021 looking increasingly as though there will be more of the same, Christmas shopping and eating out offer a glimmer of hope for our independent traders.

Jason Armstong, of the shopping app SuperSaver Cheshire, recently re-posted these words of wisdom that are doing the rounds on social media: “So Christmas shopping is going to be weird this year. Instead of boosting Amazon’s profits, you could ask friends and family for a voucher for a local business that might be struggling. Bookshops, restaurants, salons, cinemas, craft stores, arts venues… whatever you’re into. Hopefully, we can help them still be here next year…” It’s a message that we should all take note of. And even if we cannot get out and shop safely in our city, towns and villages let’s do our armchair buying from the local businesses that have their own home delivery and mail order services.

In August, Cheshire Life launched our Keep Life Local campaign to rally around the county’s businesses, to encourage readers to shop local, and to tell the stories of dozens of our wonderful independents and the places where they are based. Each month since, and in the future, we have and will continue this coverage. The associated Cheshire Life Keep Life Local awards have attracted an incredible 2,000 entries to date. They close at midday on November 6 and if you would like to nominate your own business or a favourite retailer, market, hospitality or tourism attraction, pub, restaurant, tea shop, or any independent enterprise that has stepped up during the coronavirus crisis the entry form is at cheshirelife.co.uk.

We offer no excuses for starting Christmas in November and hope the gift and food ideas in the November issue of Cheshire Life (and the December issue) will encourage you to shop Cheshire and to Keep Life Local this Christmastime.

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