• Santa Maria Style Holidays: Chamber Highlights Local Gift Ideas and Events in Holiday Campaign

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are quickly approaching, and like most things this year, the way the Santa Maria Valley community celebrates will look different in the time of COVID-19.

    “Although traditional community events like the Christmas Parade and others have rightly been canceled this year, we want the community to know there are still ways to ring in the holidays safely, while still supporting local businesses and organizations,” explained Glenn Morris, President/CEO for the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

    The Chamber has put together a number of campaigns to provide the community with fun ways to celebrate the holidays and get out and support local businesses.

    To help get the word out about holiday events and activities, the Chamber has created a “Holiday Cheer, Santa Maria Style” landing page on their website that showcases local holiday events. From the Elks Recreation “Christmas in the County” drive-thru lights display to the City’s “Lights, Sights and Holiday Nights” competition, the Chamber wants to make sure the community is aware of all the fun activities still available locally to ring in the holiday season.

    “As a convener and community champion,” Morris explained “it made sense for us to provide a single resource for locals looking for ways to celebrate the holidays in the Santa Maria Valley.” The resource is available at santamaria.com/holiday-events-and-activities. Local businesses and non-profits holding holiday events and activities are encouraged to submit their information to taz@santamaria.com so the Chamber can include them in this promotion.

    In addition to being a hub of information, the Chamber is also committed to being a catalyst of business activity, supporting support local businesses, so the Chamber is also launching a “Holiday Giving, Santa Maria Style” gift guide and “Shop Local Holiday Selfie Contest”.

    “There are so many fun, unique businesses offering great gift ideas this holiday season,” Morris said. “Instead of defaulting to online shopping, we hope the community will first consider supporting our local businesses when doing their holiday shopping.”

    The Chamber’s holiday gift guide, available at santamaria.com/SMV-Holiday-Gift-Guide, showcases local holiday gift ideas. The site has a variety of items, experiences and event support for nonprofits you can give as one-of-a-kind gifts this holiday season. From November 29 – December 18, the Chamber will showcase “20 days of local gifts”, and will highlight a different local gift idea each day on their social media platforms. Businesses looking to contribute to the gift guide can do so by filling out this brief form: santamaria.com/form/view/21229 

    "Shopping local provides the community connection for both the customer and business, which is so important,” explained Airrick Contreras, Store Manager for newly opened Outdoor Supply Hardware in Santa Maria. “By making a personal investment in our community we not only help support the businesses and people who work there, but many other local services like police, fire, and teachers who get paid by our taxes generated while we shop local."

    Morris agrees that shopping local this holiday season is a win for everyone.

    “Not only are you helping a local business stay open and keep its people working, you’re also getting a more thoughtful and unique gift for those on your shopping list," Morris said.

    Andrea Chavez, who manages Tally Farms' Box Program, is excited to participate in the Chamber’s Holiday Gift Guide and agrees that shopping local benefits more than just the local business.

    “Shopping local and supporting locally owned businesses means supporting yourself, your business and your community,” Chavez explained. “When you buy from local businesses, those monies go into the paychecks of those business owners and employees who turn around and buy from you, your customers and community organizations."

    Katherine Fischer, owner of Fischer's Fine Jewelry, says local business owners like herself need to lead by example.

    " Local businesses like ours put money back into our community by shopping local themselves." Fischer explained, "This money supports local schools, the arts, and vital organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and the YMCA.  We're all connected, when we support each other, it benefits us all!"

    To encourage the community to support local businesses, the Chamber is holding a “Shop Local Holiday  Selfie Contest”, where locals can visit any business in the holiday gift guide, snap a photo of the business or a selfie, and share with the Chamber for their chance to win local prize packages. Winners will be chosen weekly between November 29 – December 18.

    “We hope the contest will encourage people to get out and visit our local businesses this holiday season, and perhaps visit some places they haven’t been to before,” Morris said. “Many are unaware of the variety of products, services and activities we have available right here in the Santa Maria Valley. Our goal is to bring community awareness to our great local businesses and hopefully make some repeat customers from those out shopping for the holidays.”

    The “Shop Local Holiday Selfie Contest” will launch mid-November, will have details available at santamaria.com/SMV-Holiday-Gift-Guide and on the Chamber’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SMVCC

    Even in the times of COVID, the holidays are still the most wonderful time of the year in the Santa Maria Valley. The Chamber encourages the community to make the most of this holidays season enjoying local events and supporting our local businesses.

    “We recognize that this year has been challenging for everyone on many levels,” Morris said. “But with the challenges, we’ve also seen community members, businesses and organizations come together and meet the challenges brought by the pandemic head-on. We know the community will continue to step up and support one another, and we look forward to ending the year on a high note for the Santa Maria Valley by safely celebrating and shopping locally this holiday season.”