In the middle of a heated political race, I want to take a break to remind ourselves that we are all human beings trying to survive. Regardless of our political persuasions, all of our calendars look the same as we set our sights on the holidays.

Black Friday, the largest retail shopping day in the United States, is just 35 days away. Christmas is 63 days away.

With our economy still locked down or partially locked down, merchants of Santa Cruz County need our help. Those small business entrepreneurs who have invested their life savings in their dream need our support now more than ever.

If you are blessed with the ability to buy gifts for your loved ones this year, please consider our small business neighbors first. Amazon earned the lion’s share while small businesses were shuttered due to COVID-19. Amazon doesn’t need our money, it's now valued at $1.6 trillion.

We can help our small businesses by purchasing holiday gift cards to local restaurants, barbershops, hair salons, spas and other nearby venues. Perhaps we can even purchase a few extra for ourselves, as those small businesses need cash in pocket now.

Besides our financial support, we can help in other ways, too, like following our neighborhood small businesses on social media and giving a shout-out on our personal social pages. Touting their services and superior customer service is free advertising, priceless for a small business owner. We can also pay in advance for services, be it personal care or a tune up or oil change on our vehicles.

It may not break our budgets, but these advance dollars could be a small business’ saving grace. Remember, when Little Leagues and soccer clubs need donations, it’s small businesses that come to their aid, not big chains. And definitely not Amazon.

It’s time to unite and rally behind our small business community. This year, the Season of Giving presents us with an unprecedented challenge: to save, support and sustain the small businesses that make Santa Cruz County a gift to us all.

Donna Federici

Sonoita

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