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Holiday shopping initiatives starting

Hunting for Christmas gifts is easy in Oxford with a few “shop local” initiatives rolling out in the coming weeks.

Starting next week, the Oxford Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and Visit Oxford will put out a postcard that lists 47 businesses offering 15 percent off of one item in the store. Those postcards are 100 percent free when stopping by either entity.

Next up is a “Gift Ideas for Under $50” list that showcases various gifts around town, which can be accessed at www.oxfordms.com.

These initiatives and more are a part of the Shop Oxford holiday blitz that reminds residents to invest in their community, according to Pam Swain, senior vice president of the Chamber.

“We run a series of ads, social media blitzes, stickers on doors and many other small touches to keep our local focus,” she said. “We also have a Shop Oxford float in the Oxford Christmas Parade, which has been a big hit among the locals. This year we plan to throw items from our local chamber members to parade attendees along the route. We feel this will help give them additional publicity.”

Swain said the goal of Shop Oxford, which first started in 2001 after officials noted decreased holiday sales tax revenue, is to show residents that if they travel to surrounding communities, they are investing in those cities instead of their own.

“Shopping local helps support the city of Oxford through your local taxes, which in turn improves our parks, streets, fire and police departments, and other community services,” she said. “The Chamber wants to remind people that if you shop elsewhere another city gets your tax dollars. We ask our citizens to keep our money at home and pledge to support the local businesses who support this great community of Oxford in which we are blessed to live, work and play.”

Shopping local means big or small stores, whether it is Walmart or a small specialty store on the Square, because it is all supporting local jobs.

“It’s important for our locals to remember to shop at home because that helps keep more money in our local economy,” Swain said. “It supports locals’ jobs and wages, it conserves tax dollars, and it is an investment in entrepreneurship.

“It also creates that warm sense of community that we love about Oxford. It is investing in your neighbors who in turn invest back into you.”

Swain said there are unique shopping opportunities in town, whether on a strip on Jackson Avenue, downtown or elsewhere and there is “a big-city selection with a small-town feel.”