The holiday shopping season is here. There are more things bought this time of the year than any other time – especially from a retail aspect.

Local chamber of commerce organizations, business groups and community leaders all seem to promote “shop at home.” Many communities put together special holiday events to attract shoppers and outsiders to come to their hometown. Some communities have even more than one celebration.

But some citizens don’t understand all this hub-bub about shopping locally, so we thought we’d put together a few things to think about when you’re thinking of making that next purchase – whether it be during the holidays or any time of the year.

1. Buying over the Internet may be easy, convenient and less costly, but it also doesn’t bring a single dollar back into your community. There are no sales tax dollars on Internet purchases. Until someone finally figures that out, Internet sales will continue to hurt the economy, cause states and local governments to keep tightening their belts and create more damage for local businesses trying to make ends meet.

2. Sales tax dollars spent out of town stay out of town. If you travel to the nearest big city to shop – even though you may live in Mahomet or Seymour — those sales tax dollars are going to that larger community. They’re gone forever — except maybe a small percentage that might come back in the form of assistance to the schools if you live in such a county that gives a small percentage of their sales tax dollars back toward infrastructure in our schools. For instance, most communities have a certain amount of sales tax. Part of that money goes to the state, another part goes to the county and a portion of that stays in your hometown – just so long as it was spent in your town.

That’s why it’s important in your community to attract outsiders into your town. Having interstate access helps, having community holiday promotions or celebrations is a plus and just having businesses that attract consumers from outside your area can help those community government coffers. It’s particularly important on big ticket items like cars, furniture, electronics, appliances and so on.

3. A dollar that stays in town, gets recycled seven times before it leaves town. That’s right. You spend a dollar at the local grocery store and it goes back into your community seven times – by the employer providing jobs for people, by the business donating to the local school project and things like that.

4. Shopping at home provides jobs. The more people shop locally, the more jobs businesses can create – keeping viable, productive people in your town, growing families, buying homes, putting local gas in their cars, eating at local establishments and shopping locally. Small businesses are the No. 1 creators of jobs. If we want our economy to turn around and put people back to work, it might be as simple as shopping in your hometown.

5. Ooooo … where’d ya get that? If you hate stepping out on the town and seeing somebody with the exact same outfit as you, shop small. When you make local purchases, the odds of finding those unique one-of-a-kind finds are infinitely higher. Local stores often carry items that are uniquely specific to the area. By shopping in your backyard you’re saying, "I love where I live."

6. Would you like some help with that? It’s proven that mom-and-pop shops compete with bigger brands by offering customers outstanding service and a higher level of expertise in their field.

7. Where everybody knows your name… If you continue to shop locally, you’re likely to build a lasting relationship with the shopkeeper and employees. There is much less turnaround in a smaller store and owners love getting to know their regulars.

8. It’s easy being green. By sourcing locally and using less transportation, neighborhood businesses are the more environmentally friendly options. Plus, they’re often situated on smaller streets and corridors, which reduce congestion and pollution.

9. Entrepreneurship drives innovation, growth and stability. Shopping at small businesses says you support the American dream. It’s also been proven that nonprofit organizations have better relationships with community businesses. In turn, local businesses are more likely to donate to charity and social causes.

So, shop your hometown first. Help your community grow and prosper. Just think how you can make a difference in your community.