We are a week-plus away from Christmas. Time enough to make a plan to ease up on those Amazon delivery drivers and put some local into these weird 2020 holidays.

Shops across Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside are open for your business. They need your business. We need these small retailers (and many of those big ones in North Riverside, too) to survive until spring. And it is pretty much in your hands because, as we have all learned, Christmas sales are critical to independent small businesses.

Throughout the months we’ve reported on businesses hit hard by the pandemic – the restaurants and bars, niche businesses like Higgins Glass, Aunt Diana’s and Quincy Street Distillery and Riverside Arts Center in Riverside and Galloping Ghost, Brennan Massage and Spa in Brookfield and local florists, where canceled events and prolonged closures earlier this year depressed foot traffic and walk-in sales.

The doors of the local retail and service businesses are open for walk-in business, but if you’re still queasy about in-person shopping, they all offer online sales.

In Brookfield, as we reported last week, one family has even a compiled a handy online gift guide with links to the websites of local businesses. You can find it by clicking here.

During the next nine days, let’s show them some love. Time to remember the genuine warmth of shopping in a store where the proprietors are present and they actually love what they sell. 

The easiest thing would be to fire up the laptop and order more stuff from national retailers and digital-only vendors who have figured out a lot of logistics to survive the pandemic. 

But, the best thing to do, though, is to head to East Burlington Street and East Quincy Street, to Harlem Avenue and Cermak Road, to Grand Boulevard, Ogden Avenue and Broadway Avenue and invest in the shopkeepers who make these villages special places to live.

They need us now.