Christmas Room at the Plum Porch

The seasonal Christmas Room at the Plum Porch in Marstons Mills brings the joy of the season to life.

Customers have a choice of where and how to spend their hard-earned dollars. But local businesses are an investment in everyone’s future.

As we embrace another holiday season here on the Cape and Islands—putting checks next to names on our shopping lists—the hunt for meaningful and unique gifts doesn’t have to involve online shopping carts and free shipping, by drone or otherwise! The region is full of business owners who have invested in our local communities, and have spent deliberate effort to offer and promote products created by creative individuals throughout the area. With the increasing wave of commitment to “Shop Local,” flooding the airwaves and our collective conscience across the country, our unique coastal environs have an advantage when showcasing various interpretations of why the Cape is so special. Our local streets in our local villages are filled with crafts, jewelry, art and food staples that have been influenced by the special lifestyle people strive to enjoy. Successfully finding gifts and products that are thoughtful for ourselves and the ones we love can also directly be an integrated element of making our local businesses healthy and sustainable.

The holiday season kicks off the local strolls and fairs hosted by many of the town’s chambers of commerce. There is no better time for the local merchants to shine and welcome shoppers to their businesses. Cyndi Williams, executive director of the Harwich Chamber of Commerce, says that it is a unique time for businesses to showcase their stores to customers that might not otherwise take the time to stroll, sample and select items for the people in their lives. “It is always festive and fun,” she says, “but more importantly it is a time for businesses and residents to really connect.”

Making progress on your gift list can pose a bit of a challenge sometimes when it comes to those that are perceived to be “hard to buy for.” Across the Cape, we are lucky to have the benefit of a few invaluable resources such as Maxwell & Company on Main Street in Falmouth, offering luxurious clothing and accessories for both men and women; Puritan Cape Cod, with locations on the Main Streets of Falmouth, Hyannis and Chatham, as well as in Mashpee Commons, also offering fine clothing as well as outdoor wear and gear for active lifestyles; and Watson’s Men’s Store on Main Street in Orleans. Owner Dan Eberly says that with over 80 brands in the store, they are unequaled in their selection across New England. Offering Carhartt work wear and tuxedos within the same store, against a backdrop of a casual coastal vibe, Eberly says customers are always saying shopping with them is a very pleasurable experience, making the tagline “There is no place like Watson’s” ring true. All three stores are proud of the customer service that has helped them build their business decade after decade, and they each say that you just can’t replace the experience of seeing, feeling and appreciating the items they sell with ordering online.

The online experience is also called into scrutiny when discussing the value of a local business with Michele Chagnon-Holbrook, owner of Casabella Interiors in Sandwich. “When people shop with us, if they don’t know it at the beginning, they do by the end—you get a whole team,” she explains. “Not only are you supporting a local business, one where you can look the people directly in the eye, but also, we use local people to deliver our furniture and local workrooms to create our upholstery and drapes. It is so much more than just an owner; it is an entire network that truly makes us a part of the community.”