As Thanksgiving nears, families and friends are making plans to gather and make food. Meanwhile, businesses large and small are getting ready for the holiday shopping season that starts immediately after the turkey’s been eaten.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the most popular shopping days of the year, but there’s another one that is gaining momentum: Small Business Saturday.

Started in 2010, the first Small Business Saturday took place in 2010 in Roslindale, Massachusetts on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. American Express sponsored the event with several local partners, including National Trust for Historic Preservation, Roslindale Village Main Street, and Boston Mayor Thomas M Menino. The goal was to encourage shoppers to head out to local brick and mortar stores in their neighborhoods and towns, stimulating the local economy and supporting small businesses. It worked: in 2015, an estimated 95 million people celebrated Small Business Saturday by shopping in their local communities.
 

Here are five ways to celebrate Small Business Saturday where you live: 

Don’t Just Shop. Eat and Drink, Too.

Small businesses are not just comprised of retail shops or service providers. Community members also own many local restaurants and bars. Before you do your shopping, during the day and after you’re done, head to a local restaurant to show the owner how much you appreciate their hard work. According to Karen Mills, former Administrator of the Small Business Association, small businesses create two out of every three new jobs. Restaurants and retailers generally employ more workers than other types of small businesses. By patronizing your local restaurant or bar, you’re helping your local economy and its people even more.

 

Find a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Towns and cities large and small have Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, often during the weekend after Thanksgiving. Especially for shoppers with small children, including a Christmas Tree lighting in the daily activities keeps kids from getting bored in what might otherwise be a tedious day. Aside from Christmas Tree lightings, there are many other festivals during this time of the year. Check with your local government or Chamber of Commerce to learn about the events in your area. Spending time in small downtown businesses can increase the magic of the season, and bring about more fun memories than just buying stocking stuffers.

 

Head to Another Town for the Day

Small Business Saturday doesn’t have to be about supporting just the local businesses in your town. Take a day trip to a neighboring town to explore their local businesses and main street. Many people take vacations to distant locations, often overlooking the nearby sights and stores. Try something new and support a business that’s local in the town next door.

 

Stock Up on Goodies for Guests

Instead of looking for Christmas presents, keep an eye out at local stores for regional goods you can share with guests when they come to stay. Local chocolate shops, wineries, and crafts can add a unique flavor to a friend’s visit, not just around the holidays, but also during the rest of the year.

Depending on your location and climate, options can vary. Local honey, maple syrup, candles, locally made chocolate, wines, beers, ciders, preserves, blankets and crafts are all great items to keep around the house for guests. These items can also serve as a conversation piece and potentially prompt another sale for the small business where you bought them when your guest admires the goods.

 

Shop At Businesses That Support Local Causes Close to Your Heart

Many local businesses that participate in Small Business Saturdays offer discounts on goods. A lot will also have giving trees or otherwise celebrate by giving a portion to a local charity.

Alternatively, many towns have shops that are run by local charities, where the majority of the proceeds go toward a community cause. These shops often accept tax deductible donation of goods as well.  The holiday shopping season also means there are plenty of Christmas and holiday bazaars, where you can support local business owners that may not even have a storefront for the majority of the year.

 

Ultimately, there are a number of options for celebrating Small Business Saturday that allow you to enjoy yourself and also support the local business owners in your area like Liberty Tax.  Participating Liberty Tax offices will be hosting our Annual It’s A Wrap program where you can take your gifts into an office and have them wrapped, free of charge.  All it takes is a little research to find the best options near you.

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