If you’re a last-minute gift giver or unsure of what to give to that hard-to-buy-for person, we’ve got some suggestions for you that will help you and your community.

Give to local charities in their name. It’s been a tough year for nonprofits that have not been able to hold their usual fundraisers because of the coronavirus, so a gift to any of them is especially appreciated this year. There are many to choose from, and, if you’re uncertain which specific group to give to, consider United Way of Cullman County, which funds a large number of programs providing support to Cullman County families.

Help out local businesses by purchasing gift cards to be used later. If you know their favorite local shop, get a gift card from that store. Restaurants, grocery stores and retail stores could all use the business in a year where business has been drastically changed, and it’s easy to find a gift card that “fits” any individual.

Also, think of services people need, such as an oil change or car repairs. According to a 2019 Harris Poll, Americans spend nearly $2,000 a year on car repairs and maintenance on average. A gift certificate to help cover some of the routine car care costs is a great gift to give, and also helps support local car dealerships and auto service centers.

Finally, don’t forget the gift of news. A subscription to The Cullman Times is a great way to give the gift of local news every day. You can choose either digital access, starting at $12.99 per month, or total access (print and digital), starting at $16.99 per month.

Throughout this pandemic, local news has never been more important. While the number of COVID-19 cases in New York or Florida are definitely news, they don’t matter as much to local readers as Cullman County cases do. Likewise, you can follow national political news on cable or network TV, or read about them in nation-wide publications, but those outlets aren’t going to tell you about candidates running for Cullman school board seats, municipal office or county commission. Those are the races that have the most impact on your day-to-day lives, and being informed on local issues and leaders is essential.

For loved ones who have moved away, a subscription to their hometown newspaper is a connection back to their friends, family and community. Also, should they eventually come back home, they’ll be up to date on local news.

Christmas is just a few days away, but there is still time to give gifts that have meaning to the giver, the receiver and the community.

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