In just a few days Atmore residents will fill the streets for the annual Christmas parade.
Children will gather for breakfast with Santa Claus, and whisper into the ear of that right jolly old elf their heart's desire for holiday gifts.
Everyone knows that parents and grandparents borrow from that wish list for their own holiday gift-giving ideas.
And it isn't only children here that have wishes.
There are the wishes and needs of local leaders and business owners. The wishes of one may help accomplish the wishes of the other.
Local leaders, business owners and most area residents want to see a stable economy in Atmore.
That stable economy means new jobs and new industry, and the whole thing snowballs until the area is growing again.
So what does that have to do with the fact that Suzy wants a new bicycle under the tree?
Buy that bicycle, and as much of the rest of the list as possible, in Atmore.
Sure, you might save a couple of bucks at a super store, and you might get finished with all you have to do by taking a full day and going to Pensacola, Mobile, or even Bay Minette.
But that only benefits those municipalities. It takes dollars that might have circulated in Atmore, paying wages to people you know and go to church with, and gives them instead to people in those other towns.
Those dollars go into the tax bases of those other towns, paving their streets, paying their firefighters and police officers, while people here wonder why they are dodging potholes and relying on grants to equip the public safety departments.
Those dollars filter into the economies of other counties, paying for the education of students in other school systems, while our own in Escambia County goes begging.
It does take more to shop locally. More time, more communication, more using the old noggin to find that for which you search.
But it pays off big.
Holidays are known by merchants and businesses as the time of year that makes or breaks the financial year.
It is much more serious here. It is the time of year that may keep a business here or cause it to go elsewhere. We must patronize our own local merchants if we expect them to survive. And if we expect the town to survive, the merchants and businesses are the cornerstone.
Shop local. If we don't, then we lose all rights to complain that the local economy is in a bad way.