This Thursday we will gather around our tables, with our family and friends, and celebrate Thanksgiving. This time of year, it comes to the forefront of our minds to give thanks and to realize how blessed we truly are!
Black Friday shopping has seemed to invade Thanksgiving, within the last few years. I remember many years ago I would wake up on Friday around 1 a.m. in order to head to the stores. Now, the stores are already having their sales by 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day!
However, as bad as this seems, it is true that this coming weekend does start the "official" Christmas shopping season. Black Friday shoppers will be out all night long beginning Thursday night and on into the entire weekend.
I would like to remind everyone, however, about Small Business Saturday; which is held the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, each year. It falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Small Business Saturday was first observed in the United States on Nov. 27, 2010. This day is meant to encourage Christmas shoppers to patronize our small hometown businesses.
I encourage everyone to shop locally, as much as you can. I know, and understand, that by living in a small town there are some things that we have to go out of town for, in order to purchase. Things such as certain designer jeans/clothing, electronic games, iPhones and iPads, and certain children toys can only be found in some of the big, out-of-town businesses.
However, there are so many gift ideas that are available in our small hometown: hunting and fishing supplies, jewelry, purses, boutique clothing, monogram clothing and items, picture frames, dinner plate sets, antique furniture and clothing, artwork, theme-related items, knick-knacks, tools, auto parts, lawn and garden items, automobile items and other memorabilia.
Some "non-traditional" ideas for the "hard to buy for" person on your list (or someone who already "has it all") could be a facial, massage or haircut from a local salon; a plant or tree from a local florist; a gift card to a local restaurant, pharmacy, gas station; a home-made cake, or a local "home-based" independent salesperson (such as Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, etc.)
Use your imagination; there are tons of ideas that can be thought up, all while staying within our small community. Go walk around and walk in our home-owned businesses; you might surprise yourself with the amount of gift ideas you will find.
Top reasons to shop locally:
Small businesses and local businesses are still the backbone of our economy. Madison County is where we live, where we are raising our families, where we shop, where we eat and where we have fun. All of this is what makes this our home. Madison County's one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this town. Studies have shown that when you buy from locally-owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses which strengthens the economic base, even more. Also, local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, thus they are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community's future.
Save Time, Gas and Energy – without having to drive long distances or spend countless hours on the road you will save money on gas and save your time and energy for fun this holiday season.
Boost Employment – more sales in our community means more people are needed. That's good for the economy and providing jobs for your family, friends, neighbors, and possibly you.
To Promote Economic Development – More local sales mean more money in circulation. That means more businesses can grow and new businesses can start. That improves the area for everyone.
To Get Personal Service – You know you can trust the person behind the counter to give you the best advice and value when you know them personally.
To Give To Your Community – When you shop locally, a portion of the money from your purchases pays the wages of your friends, family and neighbors who work at local businesses.
To Help Others – Owners and employees of local businesses support a wide range of community services and charitable projects with their time, talents and money.
So, get busy and get ready for Christmas. Santa Claus will be coming down our chimneys in a matter of weeks. Just make sure you check local shops and businesses before you head out of town.
But, most importantly – during this upcoming busy time in our lives - remember the true meaning of Christmas is NOT Santa Claus – it's Jesus Christ.
And, no matter what you buy – be sure to throw in a one-year subscription to your local newspapers! 😊 Your family/friends will thank you for it! 😊