MANY of us have warm memories of taking that big trip to ‘town’ in the lead up to Christmas, to admire the Christmas lights on Patrick Street and pay a visit to the SHARE Crib on Daunts Square, to pick up all of the necessities in terms of gifts, decorations and some nice treats — usually Cork’s famous Spiced Beef from the English Market, and of course a copy ofthe Holly Bough.
These are special memories that can bring a treasured sense of nostalgia. As consumers we still crave these unique experiences for ourselves and our families.
Though there’s no question that retail is changing dramatically across the globe, there’s still no beating the Christmas atmosphere in the city, or your local town centre.
Online shopping over the last two decades means we can now make worldwide purchases, day or night. While this can bring convenience, are we losing out as consumers? What about the tactile experience, the social side of our Christmas gift choosing, the experience of the festive atmosphere.
Are we forfeiting the unique opportunity to experience something that you not only enjoy in the moment but may also become a treasured memory in time? We must also remember you can ‘click and collect’ with many of our local businesses, blending online with shop local.
The Christmas season presents an opportunity for the local business community to create something special, and as consumers it’s important that we recognise and support local, making a conscious decision to contribute to the vibrancy of our city or towns.
At Cork Chamber we’re very conscious of the role we play in supporting a thriving city and town centres, as well as how we can work with the business community to support the local economy. In 2018, we introduced the Cork Chamber Gift Card in association with One4All. Whether as a company gifting to staff, or as a stocking filler for Christmas morning these make great gifts. Now in its second year, there has been huge support from shoppers, retailers and companies keen to reward their staff with Gift Cards during the year but particularly at Christmas.
Take the example of Cork based company Clearstream, a leading global provider of post-trading services, who recently moved into the city’s newest office complex Navigation Square with close to 500 staff. As part of their commitment to the region and to celebrate the move the company purchased the Cork Chamber Gift Card for each of their Cork based employees. This investment encourages their team to get out into the city and enjoy everything Cork has to offer as well as supporting local businesses and jobs.
The great thing is the gift card can be spent in over 400 participating stores in Cork, including many
independent retailers as well as the larger stores, while always supporting local and keeping the investment in our region. Conveniently orders can be placed online as well as picking up the gift cards in many post offices and post points.The Cork Chamber Gift Card is our way of giving people the option to gift a Cork experience to their friends, family and loved ones. To get more information on this, check out www.corkchamber.ie.
As the jingle bells begin to chime and the lights start to twinkle over the coming weeks, we all have an opportunity to contribute in our own way to a thriving Cork. We can choose to shop local, and to take time to soak up the festive atmosphere in our city and towns. We can support the wonderful charities working hard to help make Christmas a special time for everyone particularly those in difficult situations and we can enjoy with friends, family and colleagues the magic of Christmas.
Take the time to potter around our wonderful city, pick up your Christmas gifts, stop for a bite to eat in one of our lovely restaurants, listen to some carolling on St. Patrick Street and maybe even take in a Christmas Panto. Here on Leeside we’re not shy about how much we love Cork, so let’s get out there and show an even stronger pride of place this Christmas.