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By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing


November 16, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – How can you support struggling retailers and local nonprofits while also minimizing risk during the 2020 holiday season, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging?

Here are several options to keep the "merry" in your holiday season and/or keep the "jingle" in local stores.

  • Choose local stores with curbside pickup options to minimize contact.
  • Place an online order with a local retailer for shipping directly to your door.
  • If you visit a mall, consider an outdoor mall such as Grossmont Center in La Mesa or Viejas Outlets Center in Alpine for better air circulation.
  • Avoid Black Friday: Many larger stores are offering extended sales over multiple weeks this year to avoid post-Thanksgiving crowding and allow for social distancing.
  • If you’re at high risk from COVID-19, ask a friend or neighbor to pickup items for you when they go shopping.
  • Give gift cards to local restaurants, retailers, wineries, theaters or other area businesses to help sustain them during limited operations due to COVID-19.
  • Shop online at, where you can choose a local nonprofit to support with every Amazon purchase. (You can choose East County Media to support East County Magazine and East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts.)
  • Make hand-made or home-cooked gifts to avoid leaving home.
  • Parkway Plaza is offering virtual Santa visits, so your children can share their wishes safely online. The El Caon regional shopping mall also has in-person Santa visits, with social distancing (no sitting on Santa’s lap).
  • Time your in-person shopping trips for off-hours, preferably first thing in the morning, after stores have sanitized overnight.
  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after shopping and after wrapping gifts.



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