The City of Andalusia has launched a campaign reminding area residents of the importance of thinking local during the holiday season. 

The message “Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local” is being used in broadcast, print, billboard and social media promotions. 

Click here to hear the radio spot.

“This is an important time of the year for local businesses,” Mayor Earl Johnson said. “When you shop local, you’re making an investment in our community, our lives, and our future.

“But you’re also supporting local families,” he said. “This year’s shopping season is six days shorter than last season because Thanksgiving falls so late in the month. For merchants, it is critically important that the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are busy.”

The Alabama Retail Association $12.4 billion in holiday spending in Alabama in November and December, a 3 percent increase over last year. For every dollar spent at a locally-owned business, 67 percent stays in the community, according to data compiled for American Express in support of Small Business Saturday. 

The credit card company started the event 10 years ago to encourage shoppers to support small businesses during the holiday season. 

“Every time you make a purchase from a local retailer, join a local gym, eat in a local restaurant, or buy a gift certificate for a spa service, you are shopping small and making a difference,” the mayor said. 

“We would remind you that a gift certificate for a spa service, a good meal, or the theater makes a great Christmas gift,” Johnson said. “And it’s a very good way to support local businesses.”

This year, the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce will reward shoppers who support Small Business Saturday in Andalusia with free passes for the Polar Bear Slide and Winter Skating at Christmas in Candyland. Shoppers can take their receipts to the Chamber next week for the passes. 

While the shopping season officially begins as soon as the turkey is done, Christmas events kick off in Andalusia next week with a tree lighting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, followed by the Christmas parade at 7.  Christmas in Candyland opens on Friday, Dec. 6. For a complete Candyland schedule, visit