When I was a kid, my mother and I were the only two in our family living in North Carolina, so we spent decades of my life traveling to Norfolk and Virginia Beach to be with family on holidays. Thanksgiving was no different, and we had so much fun. As a single mother, my mom only got bare-bones holidays off, so Thanksgiving day was our travel day.
Which meant that Thanksgiving Friday, we piled in the car with my Granny Duck, my aunt and two cousins (it was tight with six of us … thank God for bench front seats) and hit the “big” mall: Lynnhaven, in Virginia Beach. Those days are a blur of exhaustion, shopping bags and packages, Sbarro pizza and pasta, and Mother’s Records. Man, those were the days.
But those days are gone. When my soul mate and I had our son 14 years ago, I put the kibosh on traveling at Christmas. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is typically at my MILs half an hour away, or at my SILs in Charlotte. And nobody in either location is likely to get up at 5 am for Black Friday sales. Thank you baby Jesus.
Adult Me is way smarter and more efficient than Youth Me, and Adult Me plans out shopping through the year for the holidays so no rush on what the world now calls Black Friday is necessary.
I LOVE, love, love the whole concept of Small Business Saturday, however, and welcome the change of pace. I love keeping my dollars in my community and supporting local craftspeople and artisans. I love dining in community restaurants where I’m likely to run into folks I know. I love being able to leave our cars in the garage and bike or walk to a local business to reduce our carbon footprint. Don’t get me wrong: I also believe in global commerce. But on Small Business Saturday, I happily embrace the power of local.
American Express has a handy Web tool that allows you to search for businesses in your community who are participating in Small Business Saturday. Check it out, then check them out. Happy local shopping!
PS. While you’re considering what gifts to buy for the holidays, you might consider donating to your local homeless shelter or food bank in someone else’s name. Or supporting your local national public radio stations (we are sustainers at WUNC and WCPE). The arts could also use a bolster, and season memberships are a wonderful way to share a gift with a loved one while supporting your local museum, performing arts theatre, or symphony.