Nov. 26: Small Business Saturday

A press release landed in my inbox today, cheerily alerting me to the fact that a couple of major retailers are planning to open early for Black Friday -- not on the day after Thanksgiving, but on Thanksgiving Day itself (KMart at 6 a.m. on the 24th, ToysRUs at 9 p.m., and WalMart at 10 p.m.). Call it Black Thursday.

The economics of this decision may seem self-evident to the big boxes, but plenty of folks aren't happy with the encroachment of competitive consumption on a day that we've generally counted on to be all about the food, the family and the football.

If you're weary of a climate in which we're encouraged to shop before we've even wrapped up the leftovers, you can simply opt out, of course. Stay home and forget about the bargains -- is JCPenney's free Disney snow globe really worth the hassle? Or you could rest up on Thanksgiving, spend the night digesting peacefully, sleep in as late as you can, and funnel your cash to local businesses that desperately depend on us to keep their doors open.

Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26 encourages consumers to visit their local shopping district for their holiday gifts. You probably already have a favorite independent pub, bookstore, toy store or clothing boutique, but you can visit SMS's Facebook page and enter your zip code for locally owned restaurants and retailers near you.

Up on Capitol Hill, you can get a host of bargains on Nov. 25-27 -- Bluebird Ice Cream is offering a free second scoop with the purchase of the first; select items at Bootyland Kids will be 20-30 percent off; and if you buy one game at Gamma Ray Games, you'll get the second at 50 percent off.

We wish you all a happy Thanksgiving devoid of shopping bags.

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