Economists are predicting a so-so Christmas shopping season this November and December. Others are predicting a better year, and a few doom and gloomers say it could be about the same or worse than it was in 2011.

Alas, trying to predict the spending behavior of Americaís shoppers is like trying to predict what the weather will be months from now. Itís just hard, if not impossible, to do. No one will know for sure until we get there.

What economists and chambers of commerce can predict with absolute certainty today about tomorrow is how important Christmas sales will be to the health of the local economy, to jobs and job security.

Money spent at home, more often than not, stays at home. Money spent elsewhere, whether in another community or in cyberspace via the ever-growing World Wide Web, stays elsewhere. That canít be emphasized enough.

The investments we make at home, be it through the purchase of new clothes, used cars or replacement appliances, show up everywhere, including in the paychecks of thousands of residents, both part-time and full-time workers. They show up in the schools we build, in the roads we construct and in the recreational facilities and programs we develop. They show up in the house payments we make or the rent we pay for shelter for ourselves and our family.

Ideally, everything we buy would be purchased on the mainland or one of the islands. Thatís not being realistic, however. Most consumers have their favorite go-to places.

But on behalf of the people who work, live and play in Brunswick and the Golden Isles, we urge everyone to shop at home this year as much as possible. Our economy could use it.