Whatever your political stance is, we can all agree that the best place to see your dollars and time do good is to invest in your own community. Every little bit that you do personally helps build momentum for an even bigger impact on our neighborhoods.

The biggest thing you can do to impact our community? Keep it local. It doesn’t take volunteering for a thousand hours a week (although we wholeheartedly endorse volunteering). Start with stepping into your neighborhood coffee shop.

Here are a few ways you can keep it local this holiday season:

Small Business Saturday: Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate the Shop Small movement and drive shoppers to local merchants across the U.S. Sponsored by American Express, pledge to shop small and support local businesses on November 26th. You don’t have to buy the store — just pick up a few holiday gifts.

Fells By Foot Holiday Shopping Crawl: Yelp Baltimore is packing December full of memorable meet-and-greets and deals tied to a good deed. On Saturday, December 3rd, Yelp Baltimore will take Fell’s By Foot, hunting for deals and snatching up goodies along the way.  As Yelp Shops Local participants, these great businesses have pledged to give a portion of their earnings from the crawl to Baltimore Child Abuse Center. Some retailers are even offering a discount to shoppers on their purchases as well, so make sure you ask! 

Merry Mart at The Creative Alliance: An Etsy-lovers dream. This little gem of a market is full of items that are made in charm city. So those of us that love handcrafted gifts can easily support local crafters. No manic mall madness necessary! Jen Menkhaus and Allison Fomich host an amazing show with clothing, handbags, felt accessories, ceramics, soaps, kids’ toys, mixed media, amazing jewelry, and great art! Indie crafters from the Charm City Craft Mafia, the Baltimore Etsy Street Team (BEST), Highlandtown, Creative Alliance staff, artists and more. December 4th from 11 AM – 5 PM. 

Downtown Dollar or Less Days: No shopping required and get a little culture on the cheap. On Saturday December 3rd and Sunday December 4th, twelve of Downtown Baltimore’s best-loved attractions are opening up their doors for just $1 admission. Yepp, that includes the REGGIE, Port Discovery, Historic Ships, the Babe Ruth Museum, National Aquarium and more. We suggest you take your savings and pick up a few items from their gift shops.

Introducing the (cool) progeny HOT HOLIDAY SCVNGR HUNT! We’re working with several local retailers and family-friendly businesses to put together a scavenger hunt for local shoppers. All you’ll need is your smart phone to participate. Who knows? You may win one of several hot holiday gift items from our 2011 guide. More information (and the coveted guide) is coming next week. But we HAD to give you a sneak peek! Shop local and win prizes? Schweet.

Have some other fun ways to keep it local? Sharing is caring! Leave a comment so we can add it to our calendar.