Theoretically, if Santa Claus and his reindeer needed a rest, he could just buy a Chamber Bucks eGift Card … and nobody would have to move a muscle on Christmas Eve.

Nowadays, it’s not hard to imagine Santa next to a fireplace while petting the top of Rudolph’s  head, whipping out his cellphone, scrolling until he finds “Precocious Little Diana in DeWitt,” and hitting the “Send eGift” button.

To be sure, the DeWitt Chamber and Development Co.’s (DCDC) “Chamber Bucks” program has staying power.

“We have tracked $3.2 million worth of local purchases in the last three years,” said DCDC Executive Director Angela Rheingans. “Chamber Bucks is how you can help keep your dollars local.”

Chamber Bucks is a currency that is used just like a paper check from the bank. You can buy “Bucks” in $5 and $10 denominations and distribute accordingly. 

“The paper checks are staying, but we’re just expanding the options,” Rheingans said. “Now you can buy it from home, at any time of the day in any denomination on the internet, and you can text it or email it to recipients.”

That’s right, she said “text.” 

The eGift Card is a digital “Buy Local” piggy bank with the flexibility of a prepaid credit card. But here’s the kicker, there’s no need for a physical “card.”  

“I could text a digital card to you, and there’s an interactive feature that tracks how much money remains on the account,” Rheingans said. 

As of Monday morning, 21 local businesses have been set up to accept eCard purchases, but that list is growing by the day. The program automatically links shoppers to the incoming merchants as they go live.

Rheingans said all eCards cost $1 to purchase, plus 5% of the gift value. 

“Someone buying a $20 eCard would pay $22,” Rheingans said.

membership/chamber-bucks-egift-card for additional information.