One of the most common themes in Christmas stories is the sheer perseverance of the holiday spirit. All the Whos down in Whoville didn't let the Grinch spoil their celebration in the least. This year, with public health precautions in place, downtown Spokane is fully embracing those ideals and not letting anything dampen its legendary holiday spirit.

"We're doing everything we can to offer a traditional holiday experience,” says Liz Hooker, marketing & programming director for the Downtown Spokane Partnership. “It will look a little different, but it will still include the things you're used to, like the vintage CRESCENT WINDOW DISPLAYS in the windows of the Davenport Grand Hotel.

Years ago, these displays were the highlight of every Christmas season in the windows of the Crescent department store. The Downtown Spokane Partnership brought them back, allowing new generations to see what their parents and grandparents enjoyed when they were kids.

“There will be lots to see,” adds Hooker, “entertainment and activities."

For instance, traditional horse-drawn carriage rides will continue, but by reservation this year (visit downtownspokane.org for details). And RIVER PARK SQUARE, along with being a prime retail destination, will once again host the beautiful CHRISTMAS TREE ELEGANCE event (December 1 to 13).

And downtown's small businesses remain some of the best places to do your holiday shopping. ATTICUS and BOO RADLEY'S are neighbors and prime spots for finding one-of-a-kind regional items or quirky pop-culture items that make for distinctive, inspired gifts.

If you've got a budding chef or a keen baker in your life, then check out the range of utensils, gadgets, and cookware at THE KITCHEN ENGINE in the Flour Mill across the river. WONDERS OF THE WORLD, housed in the same building, is a treasure trove of imported finds like handmade artifacts and artwork sourced from around the globe.

Home décor takes pride of place at SAVVY HOME, where you can find chic furnishings and urban lifestyle products that are sure to enhance just about any interior. Or maybe your fashion sense is better geared toward the wardrobe? Both ECHO BOUTIQUE and FRINGE AND FRAY are independently owned and operated stores that carefully select and consign top-quality vintage and modern apparel.

At the Liberty Building, home to shops like AUNTIE'S, UNCLE'S, and POTTERY PLACE PLUS, retailers are going "full-on" with their holiday decorations while keeping their employees and customers safe with common-sense protocols, says Auntie's owner John Waite. "We're going to do all of the outward-facing, a lot more festive than normal. We want to make sure that the store pops as people are walking or driving by."

"When you're downtown, you don't have to travel far to find something special while also supporting locally owned businesses who care about their customers," says Hooker.

And if you're having a hard time choosing the right item, remember that a gift certificate to any of the area's small businesses has the benefit of being both personalized and versatile.