Amid a still-stagnant economy, local businesses have begun aggressively preparing for the holiday shopping season.

In an effort to boost holiday spending around the area, the Georgetown Business Improvement District will sponsor 12 Days of Merriment Dec. 9-20.

The event will feature sales at participating stores, holiday events and reduced parking rates.

“I won’t kid you — it has been hard work these last few years,” said Bobbie Medlin, the owner of handmade accessories store Bobbie Medlin at 2900 M St. “It gets slow … [but] I’m proud to say I’ve kept the doors open.”

Medlin, who creates jewelry out of tribal antiquities, worked on producing a new line of accessories and just released the new collection this past weekend in time for the holiday season.

“If you have something wonderful to offer … that gives you a leg up,” she said.

But Medlin said that the economic climate is still grim.

“My sense is that most places are struggling,” she said.

Laura Weir, manager of Babette at 3307 Cady’s Alley, felt that her store was doing well, though she said that may be because it is relatively new. The San Francisco-based store opened its doors just off M Street in March.

“If anything we’ve seen an increase because we are so new,” Weir said.

For the holidays, Weir said she and her staff were focused on making the shop’s layout more accessible as well as reaching out to top customers for a pre-sale event before an open sale on Dec. 15.

“People are always consuming,” Weir said.

Medlin said she thought that small businesses were more susceptible to economic strain than the national chains lining M Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

“Its hard for small business owners,” Medlin said. “We don’t have volume on our side.”

Nonetheless, she tries to remain positive.

“I’m always optimistic, you have to be. We’re climbing out of the recession. It’s a slow road out … [and] as a community we need to support small business because we always see them drop by the wayside,” Medlin said. “Small businesses are an important part of our fabric.”

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