“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks,

Dressed in

holiday style.

In the air, there's a feeling of Christmas.

Children laughing,

People passing,

Meeting smile after smile.

And on every street corner, you'll hear...”

You know the rest. It’s one of my favorite songs of the season, that “Silver Bells.” My favorite part about it is that it captures the essence of the light of the season and the happiness with which it’s welcomed. I find it even more beautiful because I can picture the children I hear laughing, the people I see passing and smiling. They’re people I know, and I experience a bit of Christmas magic every time I happen to bump into them, especially when strolling the town’s business district, finding unique treasures to gift the special people in my life.

We often take for granted the treasure we have in a small community, where we can stroll into cozy shops owned by neighbors, family and friends, and enjoy not only finding unique decorations, gifts, food and the like, but also taking a few moments to chat.

In Valley City, locally owned and operated stores are invaluable to the community, and around the holidays they really shine. Many of these businesses have come together to create an even better holiday shopping experience by offering a “Neighborhood Christmas” special from November 9th through December 24th. In thanking customers’ loyalty and support, they encourage the community to shop local this holiday season: “There’s no place like local for the holidays!” Headed up by Mary Berntson, of Prairie Frame Shop, this campaign of sorts is simple: pick up a flyer at participating businesses, present it at the time of purchase and get sweet deals on items in-store. Here’s where you can look:

*Prairie Frame Shop: 10% off your gift purchase

*Bridgetown Imprints: 10% off custom Christmas gifts

*Bong’s Bootery: 10% off all sale items

*Valley Paint & Glass: $4 off a gallon of Regal Select

*Alley Beans: Christmas Drink Specials

*Noos Shop Nomadic Boutique: Save 5$ on every $50 purchase

*Dutton’s Valley Gallery: $99 Portrait Special (Session, 25 cards, 5x7 Holiday Memory print)

*Dutton’s Parlour: Buy Any Lunch get a free cookie or bar

*McLean Frames: 10% off purchase

*Ace Hardware: 10% off all snow shovels

Blush Boutique: 20% off any single item

*Valley Officeworks: 25% off all specialty greeting cards

*Urban Couture: 25% off entire purchase

*Empire Home Furnishings: up to 25% off bedding

*Front Street Gallery (local artists, makers & crafters): 10% off art supplies

*Timepiece Gift Shop (located inside Barnes County Museum)

Through the shopping, you’ll find unique gift ideas, special events, in-store discounts, drawings and Christmas treats and best of all, you’ll be supporting the stores that make this small Midwest city as special as it is. Money spent in Valley City businesses gets funneled into community projects, as well as ever-changing product selection to serve the local residents best. Supporting local businesses means supporting everything about the community we call home.

Check it out for yourself and keep in mind that there is always more than meets the eye. Unique and beautiful items are behind every storefront, all you have to do is take a few moments to step in the door.

Look for the full story in your Wednesday, November 6th Times-Record

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