By Bill Walczak
Special to the Reporter
A few years ago, I decided that I would only purchase Christmas gifts that were made in Dorchester, Roxbury, or Mattapan. It wasn’t an ideological decision, just one in which I decided that gifts made locally supported the local economy, and therefore you get two proverbial bangs for the buck – one for the gift and one for the support of a local business or organization.
It was also the result of going to a local department store and trying to find anything made in Massachusetts (couldn’t find anything!), which didn’t improve much when I expanded the geography to New England (there was an apple cider powder that was made in Rhode Island).
Even when I expanded the geography to the entire USA, there wasn’t much to buy.
It wasn’t difficult to find locally made items, especially if you include restaurant gift certificates, which, after all, represent locally made food. We actually have some excellent product that is produced locally. Here’s a short list of things I’ve been able to find (and buy):
The Dorchester Historical Society sells books and other Dorchester memorabilia at their annual holiday party. Upcoming this Sunday, Dec. 15, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 195 Boston St., Dorchester;
Phillips Chocolates sells handcrafted chocolates at 818 Morrissey Blvd., Dorchester;
Bully Boy Distillery has a great array of alcoholic beverages and a tasting room at 44 Cedric St., Roxbury;
Dorchester Brewing Company sells a huge selection of beers on its site at 1250 Mass Ave., Dorchester;
The Boston Winery at 26 Ericsson St. in Port Norfolk produces wines sold throughout the metropolitan area. You can find them at bostonwinery.com;
Backlash Beer is a newer brewery located in a former factory at 152 Hampden St., Roxbury;
It’s a shame that Haley House (Dudley Square, Roxbury) won’t reopen until January, as they had great baked goods and things like mugs for gifts. However, they still need your support. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get gift cards.
And for that matter, send a gift in a loved one’s name to one of our many nonprofit organizations. Look for “donation” or “contribution” on their websites.
Buy some local art. I can’t find a listing of Dorchester artists, though there is a group called Dorchester Artists and Friends who put on the Open Studios in October. One popular local artist is Vincent Crotty, who has a studio at 22 Huntoon St., but there are many, many artists in Dorchester who could use your support.
Go to the winter farmers’ market in Codman Square for some locally made items. Leonard Lee sells honey made by Dorchester bees at farmers’ markets.
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We have such great restaurants in Dorchester. For those of us who were here in the ‘70s, it’s delightful to have such choices, but they need your support, so buy some gift cards.
How about getting your loved one a car wash? We have two in Dorchester (near South Bay Shopping Center and at Neponset Circle.)
Find some new places in neighborhood business districts. Boston Main Streets has listings at bostonmainstreets.org/districts.
Buying local gives you something to talk about when you’re gathered around the tree, and a much more interesting topic than how horrible traffic was driving to the mall.
Write me back with your buy local suggestions at email@example.com. I’m still not done with my shopping.