Support local, shop local, give local

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In the last two weeks we went through several “named days” including Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and one I’ve never heard of, Buy Nothing Day.

Curiosity makes me question where these “named days” came from.

Of course Thanksgiving is the oldest, going back to 1863. In the midst of the Civil War, was when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

The term Black Friday is  more complicated. It was originally applied not to holiday shopping, but to a financial crisis: a crash of the U.S. gold market on Friday, Sept. 24, 1869.

Back in the late 1950’s Philadelphia police used the term to describe the chaos that resulted on the day after Thanksgiving when shoppers and tourists flooded their city in advance of the annual Army-Navy football game.

In the late 1980’s retailers started to promote, with a huge sale, the myth that on Black Friday retailers were finally able to turn a profit for the year and go from operating “in the red” to supposedly earning a profit and go “into the black.”

It took a little longer for the term to reach our neck of the woods. It wasn’t until 2009 that a “Black Friday” headline appeared on an advertisement in our local newspapers.

According to Wikipedia “Small Business Saturday” is an American shopping tradition that was first observed in Roslindale Village, Mass. on Nov. 27, 2010. Created by American Express it encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

The term “Cyber Monday” was created way back in 2005 on Nov. 28 by Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation and Scott Silverman in a Shop.org press release titled “’Cyber Monday’ Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year.”

“Giving Tuesday” happened when two organizations, the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation came together in 2012. Their intention was to set aside a day that was all about celebrating the generosity of giving, a great American tradition.

Buy Nothing Day is an international day of protest against consumerism started in 1992 in Vancouver Canada by artist Ted Dave. In the beginning it was held in September, but to gain more notoriety was moved in 1997 to the same day as Black Friday. I don’t think that helped very much as I’ve never heard of it before.

Of all these days what is most important to our local communities is “Small Business Saturday” and “Giving Tuesday.”

The good thing about our local small businesses is that you can find great deals from them any time of the year.

Remember, it is local businesses that support the schools with ads in the yearbook, donations to clubs and fund-raisers. They also support the community as they pay local taxes.

They purchase tickets to church suppers and donate to community projects. They hang posters in their windows. Without our local small businesses many people would not have a job.

According to an article in TIME magazine from 2009: Money is like blood. It needs to keep moving around to keep the economy going,when money is spent elsewhere it flows out, like a wound. By shopping at the corner store, consumers keep their communities from becoming “ghost towns” (areas devoid of neighborhood shops and services) or “clone towns,” where Main Street looks like every other Main Street with the same fast-food and retail chains.

I know you may not find everything locally on your shopping list. But, you will be surprised what is available when you look.

Great gift ideas from local businesses include gift certificates. I remember in high school purchasing gift certificates for my grandparents to local beauty shop and barber shops.

Let’s not forget giving this Christmas. It all began when God in heaven gave us the most precious gift of all, His Son.

There are only two days that are not identified for specific reasons, Sunday and Wednesday. Let’s hope it will stay that way. Sunday should, for most of us, remain a “day of rest.”

Many weekly newspapers have their own term for Wednesday — “Recovery Wednesday.” That is our time to recover from designing the newspaper.

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