LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

It's never too early to get started on your holiday shopping and business owners in La Crosse are hoping to convince shoppers to stay local.

Downtown Mainstreet held its annual Holiday Open House Friday evening.

More than 60 downtown businesses took part, offering unique gift ideas, special events, and refreshments.

Organizers say the event is a great way to see the unique kind of gifts and experiences downtown stores can provide.

"It's really important to support your small businesses in your community because that's where your character is. The uniqueness of a community is found in their downtown districts, it's where the mom and pop stores are, it's where our business owners know our customers," said Downtown Mainstreet Executive Dir. Robin Moses.

The La Crosse Public Library also held its annual 'Give-a-Gift' fundraiser as part of the open house.

Members of the community had the chance to buy a new book for the library's collection.

The Franke Foundation also pledged to match the amount of money raised, up to $15,000, with proceeds going to the library's childhood literacy programs.

"I think the success and popularity of this event has to do with the fact that you actually can actually see where your money is going, there are no speeches. You can come in dressed any way you want, mingle with your friends, and know that your money is making a direct contribution," said La Crosse Library Dir. Kelly Krieg-Sigman.

The 'Give a Gift' event has raised more than $200,000 for the three branches of the La Crosse Public Library since it started 14 years ago.