It's been a year so let's take care of our people.

It's the holiday season and that means holiday shopping. Maybe the budget is a little tighter this year. Maybe you're doing most of it online. Maybe you've thought about shopping local.

I hope so.

Growing up in a very small town made me appreciate small business. It also helped me understand why it's so important for locals to shop local. My hometown was a tourist town. We made a lot of money when visitors came to town on weekends or during snow season, but it was the locals that kept those businesses alive during the week and during the offseason.

Local businesses need local shoppers.

And after the year we've experienced, that is more important than ever. Many businesses had to close up shop for an extended period of time. Some weren't able to open again and those that did are doing everything they can to keep the lights on. This is where we can swoop in and help.

Here are five reasons why shopping small and shopping local this holiday season is best.