Gift local gift cards this holiday season

The pandemic has taught us a lot of things, including the importance of supporting local businesses, many of which continue to struggle.

Shopping small and local isn’t just a perfunctory pledge.  If we don’t give a boost to these area institutions, they may not be around much longer.

Purchasing gift cards to area shops, boutiques, restaurants and service providers is a simple way to support area businesses while simultaneously clearing names off your Christmas list, and it’s a win-win. Your purchase will keep money in our community and you’ll be bestowing the most coveted of all Christmas gifts. Once again, gift cards are the most-requested holiday gift, according to the National Retail Federation.

Buying a gift certificate for a small business isn’t as simple as snapping up a gift card from a grocery store end cap, but many can be purchased online, flexible options are available and you can get really creative.

A Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association gift certificate, available in $10, $25 and $50 increments, can be used at more than 120 participating businesses in Saratoga Springs. They can be purchased at any Adirondack Trust Company branch.

The Schenectady Greenmarket and the Saratoga Farmers Market offer gift certificates onsite and online. Some farms, including Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont and King Brothers Dairy in Schuylerville, also sell gift cards that can be applied to farm store orders. Bundle the certificate with a jar of jam, pie, slab of grass-fed beef or artisan cheese for a heartfelt, sensible offering.

Some of the Capital Region’s most treasured institutions still haven’t opened or are operating at significantly reduced capacity, including Proctors, Albany’s Palace Theatre, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Landmark Spectrum 8 Theatres and arts and culture venues. Most sell gift cards or membership packages. Purchasing one now could help sustain them while their doors are closed. Combine a gift card with a framed playbill, concert poster or popcorn bucket for some added pizzazz.

Buying for a bibliophile? Slide a gift card for one of the few remaining independently run bookstores, like Northshire Bookstore or The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, into a copy of a current best-seller, or better yet, a local title.

The Capital Region is bubbling over with breweries, wineries and distilleries. If you have an adult beverage-lover on our list, pair a Druthers Brewing Company, Albany Distilling Company or Saratoga Winery gift card with a bottle of wine, spirits or six-pack, slap on a bow and you’re set.

If you’re grappling with the compulsion to grab a great deal while supporting small businesses, consider these gift card offers that include bonuses.

Black and Blue Steak and Crab, Albany: Receive a $20 bonus card for every $100 gift card purchase.

Complexions Spa for Beauty & Wellness, Colonie and Saratoga Springs: Purchase a $150 gift card and receive an additional $20 in spa dollars;  receive an additional $20 in spa dollars and a Complexions Spa Set when you purchase a $225 gift cards.

DZ Restaurants: For a limited time, receive a $25 Holiday Bonus Card for every $50 in gift cards purchased. The cards are valid at the parent company’s three Saratoga Springs restaurants: Forno Bistro, Boca Bistro and Chianti Il Ristorante.

El Loco Mexican Cafe, Albany: Purchase a $25 gift card and get a $5 bonus card; spend $50 and get a $10 bonus; $100 and you’ll receive a $20 bonus.

Roma Foods Importing Company: Receive 10 percent off a gift card purchase of $50 or more. Take advantage of this offer online or in person at the Latham or Saratoga Springs locations.

Sperry’s Restaurant, Saratoga Springs: Get a $10 bonus for every $50 spent on gift cards.

Tara Kitchen, Schenectady, Troy and Guilderland: Buy a $100 gift card and receive a $20 bonus.

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall: For every $50 you spend, you will get $5 free.

Wasabi: All-You-Can-Eat-Sushi, Saratoga Springs: Spend $100 and get a $10 bonus gift certificate.

Yankee Trails: For every Yankee Trails gift card purchased, valued at $100 or more, you’ll receive $10 in Yankee Trails Bonus Bucks.

The Yard Hatchet House & Bar, Albany: Purchase a $100 gift card and receive an additional $25 to the value at no extra charge.

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