Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, and it’s coming down to the wire to finish up on holiday shopping.

Maybe you’re extremely organized, and you’ve already checked all of your friends and family off your holiday shopping lists.

But if you’re anything like me, odds are that you still have some holiday shopping left to do. I challenge you to shop local for the home stretch.

With the ever-present, convenience of online shopping, I think it’s fair to say that consumers have gotten a little lazy. I can understand the thrill of shopping in your pj’s without leaving the comfort of home, but online shopping does nothing for our local economy. Many websites can offer much lower prices than our local businesses because they are not required to pay a sales tax in states they do not have a physical presence. Don’t forget that our local sales tax pays for schools, roads and government services.

The Sycamore Chamber’s “Shop Local, Eat Local, Spend Local, and Enjoy Local” campaign, though it may not be new, it is still relevant and important to our community. We need to support our businesses who support the area where we live, work and play all year long.

Many of our small businesses are owned by people who live and have a vested interest in the community, in its schools, its parks and in our quality of life.

Buying local creates jobs: As the old saying goes, everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Well, the same could be said for jobs.

We all want more jobs, but no one seems to be able to create them. But buying local is YOUR chance to do something about it.

Did you know that half of all employees in the U.S. work for small businesses, and small businesses create 60 percent of all new jobs? By shopping local you foster job creation in a very real and tangible way. Buy local, create a job.

Small business fosters community: What is a community, anyway? It is a group of people with something in common. If you go downtown in your city, the community you will likely find is one of small-business owners. When a downtown has a bustling small-business district like Sycamore, it is said there is a strong community there, and conversely, when there are too many empty storefronts, it is bad for the community.

By buying local then, and supporting your neighborhood small businesses, you are fostering a strong community in your community.

Buying local also keeps the dream alive: What is a small business? Sure, from an economic perspective it is an entity engaged in commerce that sells goods or services for a profit. A small business is someone’s dream.

It takes a lot of courage to leave the security of a 9-to-5 job and venture out on one’s own. Being an entrepreneur is a risky enterprise that usually happens when someone’s passion is so overpowering they cannot help but start their own business. Given that most small-business people have little formal business education and that they are fueled by passion more than profit, they are generally a self-taught lot who learn as they go, make mistakes, keep calm and carry on. By supporting small business, you are allowing someone to live the dream another day.

Buying local boosts our local economy: There is an economic ripple effect that occurs when you support a small business.

First of all, it fosters jobs; the owner needs to hire people to service his customers.

But the economic ripple goes far beyond that. There are the employees with money in their pocket; they spend that money with other small businesses. Moreover, there is the business owner with profit in her pocket. She spends that on buying more goods to sell, on taking care of her family, and on growing her business.

Then, there is the business. That business pays taxes, which helps build roads and fund schools and the police.

Buying local creates an economic cycle that helps everyone.

Buying local creates a ripple in society.

That is exactly what happens when you support a local small business, and this ripple is different than the economic ripple. This is a spiritual/psychological ripple. When a small-business person succeeds, it is noticed. It may be a child who sees that dad didn’t have such a kooky idea after all and that dreams do come true. Or it may be the entrepreneur’s neighbor, who sees the successes and decides that he could do it too. The ripple grows.

One successful small business begets others. New entrepreneurs create more entrepreneurs. Enthusiasm breeds imitation. Suddenly, that blighted block downtown is bustling with energy.

It all starts when you choose to spend some money at a local small business.

While you contemplate what you’re going to get your Great Aunt Mary Lou, just remember that where you shop is just as important –if not more important –than what you purchase. Shift your shopping, and PLEASE wrap it up locally.

•Rose Treml is executive director of the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce.