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Chair's Column: Your Checklist to Embrace Winter + Support #DSMlocal

Small Business and Winter Activities in DSM

November 27, 2020

As the holiday season approaches, the weather gets colder and we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, I encourage you to embrace winter and support local. Not only is getting outside and experiencing your community good for your mental health, but a thriving small business scene and support of amenities and attractions is crucial to the health of any region.

10 Ways to Make the 2020 Holidays Special

As you work through leftover turkey and begin planning for a socially distant winter holiday season, here is a checklist of 10 things you can do to make this holiday season more special. Do not forget to use the hashtag #DSMlocal to share your experiences on social media.

  1. Purchase at least 50% of your holiday gifts locally. Most small business retailers rely on holiday gift purchases for a large part of their revenue. One way you can safely shop is by checking out the Holiday Promenade in the Historic East Village, taking place each Wednesday and Sunday through the holidays. Or check out the Historic Valley Junction Gift Guide. For more information on how to shop local this holiday season, check out the #DSMlocal Buying Guide and other resources to shop local at DSMpartnership.com/DSMlocal.
  2. Order from at least two local restaurants around the holidays. A strong restaurant scene adds to our community’s vibrancy, and restaurants have gone through a lot of challenges this year. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a great time to spread a little extra holiday cheer by ordering from a local restaurant. Bonus points if you make it a point to order from at least one restaurant a week leading up to the holidays. If the weather is warm enough, many may have their patios open, and many local restaurants have received heaters through the Extend the Season grant.
  3. Skate at Brenton Skating Plaza in December. A great way to get outside and embrace the cold weather is to go to Brenton Skating Plaza. The venue is open through Saturday, January 2 and is following social distance and masking protocols to ensure a safe experience. Skaters can sign up for hour-and-a-half timeslots, lace up their skates and #MaskUpDSM.
  4. Drive through Jolly Holiday Lights. This yearly fundraising attraction will be set up from Nov. 27 – Dec. 30. All proceeds go to a good cause: Make-A-Wish Iowa.
  5. Find the warmth of plants at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. The Botanical Garden will host Promenade at the Garden from 4 – 8 p.m. each Wednesday through Wednesday, December 23.
  6. Visit the Science Center of Iowa. If you have kids, this is a great activity to get them out of the house in a safe environment. The Science Center will be open each Thursday, Saturday and Sunday in December with limited crowds.
  7. Take in the lights at Living History Farms. Living History Farms will host a drive-through animated light show called Santa’s Rock N Lights throughout December.
  8. Take in a virtual show with the Des Moines Symphony. The Symphony will host Winter Fantasia on Thursday, December 17, or you can count down to the new year with the music of Elton John with Broadway star Michael Cavanaugh on New Year’s Eve. Bonus points if you order from a local restaurant to enjoy dinner and the show from home.
  9. Find a gift for the sports fan in your life. Unfortunately, there are not many live sporting events to attend right now, but we can still look forward to the future. A great gift idea is an “IOU” to purchase future tickets to one of the teams in what has been called the #1 Minor League Sports Market in the country. If you want a more immediate gift, consider purchasing from an online gift shop of your loved one’s favorite team.
  10. Be safe. Above all, do the things that we all need to do to keep our community healthy. Wear a mask. Social distance. Take the Stay Safe Pledge. We are a resilient community, and I am confident we will get back to the full vibrancy of this region in due time. In the meantime, accept our current reality and look out for each other.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.

Tom Mahoney

Tom Mahoney served as the Greater Des Moines Partnership's 2020 board chair and is chairman of the board at ITA Group Holdings.