The gift giving season is here, and for many of us that means lining up at a big box store at midnight to fight over whatever special deals they have. While that might sound appealing for some people, there are plenty of alternative options in Harford County for those who prefer to shop local.

This year marked the 9th annual Small Business Saturday, which was the perfect opportunity to support the local economy by buying holiday gifts for your loved ones from local businesses. Started by American Express in 2011, Small Business Saturday promotes shopping at businesses in your area. According to American Express, 67 cents of every dollar spent in local communities stays in those communities. At Harford Living we believe supporting the local economy should go beyond Small Business Saturday.

In Harford County, we have “Harford Has It: Buy In,” our own year-round version of Small Business Saturday. According to Harford County Office of Economic Development, 283 jobs are created for every 2 gifts bought locally each year. That’s a significant impact that can’t be ignored.

So where in Harford County can you shop local? Harford Lifestyle has you covered! The good news is that we have lots of options in our region. Here are a few of our favorites:

Harford Farms

Anyone living in the region knows we’re big on agriculture here in Harford County. Luckily, a lot of the farms in the area also have great farmers markets! These are great places to buy not only local produce, but locally produced goods such as artisan jams, honeys, crafts, and more. Earlier this year, Harford County rolled out its Harford Farm Finder, making it easier than ever to find a farm near you.

Downton Bel Air Alliance

The Downtown Bel Air Alliance promotes local businesses 24/7/365, and Small Business Saturday is certainly no exception. To help celebrate local businesses, the association is promoting its “Winter Wonderland” events, including Small Business Saturday, when they’ll be serving hot cocoa, offering pictures with Santa, and sleigh rides from 5 – 9 pm. And, of course, downtown Bel Air is bursting with local businesses ready to help you find that perfect gift.

Give the Gift of Relaxation

The holiday times can be extremely stressful, so why not give someone you love the gift of relaxation? Harford County is home to several full-service spas where you can get a variety of massages, skin treatments, mani/pedis, waxing, and so much more. Check out the Trip Advisor list of Best Spa & Wellness Centers in Bel Air (and the region).