Businesses large and small are getting ready for the holiday shopping season that starts immediately after the Thanksgiving 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 has been gaining momentum too — Small Business Saturday.

The first Small Business Saturday took place in 2010 in Roslindale, Massachusetts, on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. The goal was to encourage shoppers to head out to local brick and mortar stores and small businesses in their neighborhoods and towns to help stimulate the local economy. Needless to say, the idea worked and has been growing ever since: in 2016, an estimated 112 million people celebrated Small Business Saturday by shopping in their local communities.


What are five ways to enjoy Small Business Saturday where you live?


  1. Don’t just shop — eat and drink too

Small businesses aren’t just retail shops and service providers. Community members also own many local restaurants and bars. Before or after you do your shopping, head to a local restaurant to show how much you appreciate their hard work. According to 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.


  1. Find a Christmas tree lighting ceremony

Most big cities and small towns have Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, often during the weekend after Thanksgiving. 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 add to the magic of the season and bring fun memories than just buying stocking stuffers.


  1. 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.


  1. 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. Depending on your location and climate, items like locally made honey, maple syrup, candles, chocolate, wines, beers, ciders, preserves, blankets, and crafts are all great to keep around the house for guests. When they admire the goods, these items can also serve as a conversation piece and potentially prompt another sale for the small business where you bought them.


  1. Shop at businesses that support local causes close to your heart

Many local businesses that participate in Small Business Saturdays offer discounts. 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. The holiday shopping season also means there are plenty of Christmas and holiday bazaars, where you can support local business owners who may not even have a storefront for the majority of the year.


Ultimately, there are many options for celebrating Small Business Saturday that allow you to enjoy yourself and also support the local business owners in your area. All it takes is a little research to find the best options near you.


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