The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2024

County Christmas shopping pride

Less than two weeks until Christmas. If you’re like me, you’re having to start thinking about what you might buy for people at 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve. I used to have to worry a lot more, but now I sleep easy, thanks to the miracle of gift certificates.

Most people are better shoppers than the likes of me, getting the bulk of Christmas bought in the days after Thanksgiving. But even for the responsible, gift certificates can help fill the gaps. The further you get away from immediate family, the further you are from having a clue what the person you’re buying for might want. A gift card says, hey, I think you’re worth about $25 to me on Christmas but I only have a cursory knowledge of you and there’s not enough time to change any of that.

Might I take the opportunity to encourage people to finish out their shopping with gift certificates from Van Wert County stores. Shifting $50 from Kohl’s to Peebles or Maurice’s or from Menards to Ace or Sears makes a difference. If enough people do it, it makes a big difference. There might be slightly better deals in the big box stores, but through the miracle of gift cards, the receiving person knows you spent $50 on them instead of thinking you might have caught a blue light special or, to reference Seinfeld, are re-gifting.

By Van Wert County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum
By Van Wert County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum

There’s certainly no shortage of local stores and they almost all stock gift certificates. Last year, I got my wife a gift card to the then new MOD Boutique and, after shopping there, she had her favorite present. I received a gift card to Ace where I seem to buy something about every third day anyway – I appreciated that much more than whatever $20 guestimate of me someone would have thrown into a normal gift exchange.

It’s hard to miss with a restaurant gift card – everyone eats. I was going to recommend the new Black Angus, which is coming soon where the Bistro used to be, but it’s not likely to open before Christmas. There are plenty of other eateries to choose from. Wild Hare, Fricker’s, Orchard Tree, Balyeat’s, any of the Chinese or Mexican restaurants. Perhaps you would like to introduce someone to more of a novelty, like Cake Crazy or Collins Fine Foods, or to our local coffee at Perks or Brewed Expressions.

Men are especially easy to shop for with gift certificates. If your man can’t find something at Ace, Sears, or Century Trading, then he needs to re-evaluate his man-ness. Even the chain stores like Rural King and Tractor Supply provide local jobs and pay local taxes so your money is well-utilized there if your giftee has expressed a preference for these stores.

Your kids or grandkids might like something from Mengerink’s or Welch’s with the school logo on it. Your Bible Study group might like something from the Bridge and your boss might like a product offered by Wilkinson’s or Burcham printing shops. There’s ways to give gift certificates for all of that.

If you live around one of our small towns, consider the restaurants or small shops there. From experience, I can tell you that a $25 gift certificate purchased from a small town pizza place is much appreciated because it can bring someone in to try the food that may not have thought to try it otherwise. One new customer can lead to a dozen by word of mouth. Delphos people, you have no shortage of options.

And there’s another Christmas miracle to consider: Installment payments. In my never-ending quest to please my significant other, I happened into Francis Furniture a few years back. You, sirs, may be in a similar quandary — recognize the need for some new furniture but don’t want to get hit with the bill. We got some nice pieces at Francis and they found financing to make it all less painful. (I don’t mind sounding like a commercial); $1,200 is a lot harder to stomach than $100 a month for the next year. Van Wert Bedrooms can help you too, I’m sure.

The miracle of installments can aid greatly the purchase of jewelry. I’m sure Slusher’s or Laudick’s can set you up with financing to deaden the blow while you still get that same glimmer in your wife’s eye that says forever — for a few days anyway (personally, I still reference the movie Blood Diamond when my wife starts clamoring for anything glittery but that’s losing its power. Get busy on that sequel, DiCaprio).

And ladies, think how practical your husband will think you are if you get him a certificate for an oil change at Quick Change. It will blow his mind.

Of course, I’m leaving businesses out but I’ve already exceeded my word limit. You know the stores you might like to share with someone else. DeShia, Once I Was, Rehab Fab, From the Garden, Barnhart’s, the antique stores, the Embroidery Coup — whatever store you like, introduce it to someone else with a gift card. If you have to resort to Wal-Mart and McDonald’s to buy for someone out of town, buy that gift certificate locally – that does help a little.

Nobody’s striking it rich in this economy, so if we want our stores to stick around until times get better, we’ve got to support them when there’s an opportunity. The tail end of Christmas shopping, when you are just filling in or frantic, is perhaps the easiest time to express some pride through investment in our county. And just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s insignificant.

POSTED: 12/13/14 at 6:33 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions