Remember a couple of a years ago, when a fine dusting of snow transformed New Orleans into a quaint, almost unrecognizably Dickensian version of itself? The lopsided snowmen in the neutral ground? The snowy, bewreathed streetcars? These sights ramped up the Yuletide cheer factor like nothing else, but it turns out there's another way to mainline merriment: local shopping.
It seems obvious that buying from local merchants is a good idea, but until you actually hit local boutiques in the French Quarter, Magazine Street or any other shopping districts for the bulk of your holiday purchases, it's hard to grasp just how fun and festive the experience can be. The crowds aren't out of control. The vibe and decorations are charming. You can pop into any number of fine drinking establishments for a hot toddy. You're likelier to find unique gifts by local artists. You get to savor a sense of self-righteousness that comes from supporting New Orleans merchants and bolstering the local economy. It's really a win-win-win-win-win situation, but if that's still not enough win to convince you to eschew big-box and online retailers this season, you can pledge to shop local with Gambit and be entered to win prizes like gift certificates, beer and a signed copy of Sean Peyton's Home Team.