We all know it's important to shop locally. And we all try to do our bit. But sometimes we may feel its easier to do our Christmas shopping online or to head to a larger town or out of town area.
But this may not necessarily save us the time or the money that we think it does. Here's an A to Z of reasons to shop in Fleet this Christmas.
All about local: just have a look next time you're in Fleet or Hartley Wintney at how many of our local shops are independent...
Books: now that a well-known online store charges for delivery on orders under £10 it may actually be cheaper to buy in Fleet. And if the book you want isn't on the shelf it can be ordered in for you.
Christmas Festival: it's on 23 November this year and starts at 3pm so there's plenty of time to do some shopping, have a bite to eat and enjoy the entertainment - live music, street entertainers and a snow globe!
Dads: it can be tricky buying for men but 217 Menswear had am amazing selection of stylish and quality clothing and gifts whatever the occassion.
Economy: money spent with local retailers is usually invested back into the local economy. If every household in Fleet spent and extra £10 locally this Christmas this would generate an additional £170,000 for the local economy.
Fairs: there are lots of Christmas fairs which are a great opportunity to support local businesses, often people working from home who make individual crafts and gifts.
Gifts that are just that little bit different: you're more likely to find something original or quirky when shopping locally. Try Sugarplum Boutique & Home for something unique and different.
Home made gifts: there are plenty of shops to buy crafting materials, sewing items or pretty jars or boxes for home made gifts.
Independent businesses: as well as directly supporting businesses, research has shown that money spent with small and medium local businesses is more likely to stay in the local economy.
Jewellery: there's plenty of choice on the 'High Street' with many local companies selling online too including Equinox Silver who sell exquisite hand made contemporary jewellery.
Kitchen bits n'bobs: whether you want to buy a great gift for the next budding masterchef or great British baker or need a bigger roasting tin for that turkey it's all available right here in Fleet.
Lunch is a must of course, and there is plenty of choice in Fleet. If you're running late, El Castello is open all day, has plenty of choice and has fantastic customer reviews.
Make it yourself (for the uber-organised): you can buy everything you need to make your own Christmas card designs, wrapping paper or gift tags.
National chains also employ local people so it's better to support national chains in Fleet than elsewhere. After all if we don't use them there's a risk they may close down.
Outfits: plenty of choice for your Christmas or New Year's outfit for both men and women. For ladies try Experience for that special outfit and 217 Menswear sell amazing gents clothing.
Parking is FREE in the council-owned car parks on Saturday 3 December for Small Business Saturday - so what better way to support local businesses and enjoy free parking.
Queues, although inevitable as we get nearer to Christmas, are likely to be shorter, saving you money on petrol, wear and tear on your car and reducing your stress levels.
Ribbons: in any colour you can think of to decorate presents.
Service is often far better in local businesses and there's nothing like a 'hello' or smile from a retailer who recognises you.
Traditional gifts: toys, ties, scarves and more...
Upcycling: if you've got some spare time and are creative there are plenty of things to buy to upcycle your current possessions, or even something from a charity shop.
Vouchers: how about a voucher for a meal out, a haircut or makeover giving an experience with the memories lasting long after Christmas?
Wet weather gear. January was very wet this year so plan ahead - whether it's an umbrella, wellies or a Barbour jacket they're all available from Tackle Up right here in Fleet.
Xmas trees - you can buy your Christmas tree in plenty of places in and around Fleet.
Year round support: browsing and buying locally for Christmas may mean you get some great ideas for local shopping throughout the year (that umbrella for you, for example, when it starts to rain in January).
Z: After all that shopping you'll be tired - did you know you can buy beds in Fleet too? Zzzzzzzzzz....
Member since: 12th April 2014
A passionate Fleet resident committed to all things local.