[image-1] OK, now that Halloween’s out of the way, it’s time to get ready for the best time of the year: the holiday season. Inevitably, this time of year usually means opening your wallet and shelling out big bucks for gifts for friends and family. That’s where Lowcountry Local First (LLF) comes in to remind us to buy local this year (and every day while you’re at it).

Buy Local Month officially kicks off on Thurs. Nov. 15 and runs through Dec. 15. The grassroots movement encourages Charlestonians to not only shop at locally run businesses, but to educate themselves on the benefits of supporting local — like stimulating the local economy and supporting businesses that support the community right back.

To see who in town is ‘certified local,’ just look for a badge in storefront windows, or check on LLF’s online business directory. LLF also features and promotes a buy local market calendar, listing all the holiday markets taking place in town.

One of our favorite parts of Buy Local Month is the Buy Local Block Party, which returns after a year hiatus. And we couldn’t be more thrilled. There’s nothing quite like perusing local vendors in an outdoor space, sipping on some good booze, and snagging bites from food trucks. Tell us we’re wrong.

This year’s block party takes place at Tradesman Brewing Co. on Sat. Dec. 8 from 12-6 p.m. There will be live music and dozens of certified local vendors; if you’re interested in participating you can still apply through Nov. 9