Column: Only 24 shopping days left

Dec. 01, 2013 @ 04:36 AM

Well the Thanksgiving eating and football marathon is past. Black Friday is just a memory of massive crowds all fighting over the same $5 video. The largest part Christmas shopping season is ahead of us, including Cyber Monday on Dec. 2.

It made me think about where all of these shopping days originated.

Black Friday actually started in the 1960s, and it signaled the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. "Black" referred to stores actually moving from being in the red (a loss) to moving towards profitability (black). For many retailers a good Christmas shopping season determined whether they would be in business the next year. I’m not sure what today’s retailers call opening on Thanksgiving. I’m a traditionalist, so I refuse to shop on Thanksgiving.

Cyber Monday, the day when there is a surge on online holiday shopping, really just became a popular term a few years ago. Businesses are so concerned that two years ago many employers cracked down and employees started being fired when caught doing non-work activities on their computer on this major shopping day. The sales on Cyber Monday have had double-digit increases since 2005, and last year $1.4 billion of merchandise was ordered online; 226 million people ordered holiday gifts online in 2012.

So that brings us to my annual holiday mantra of trying to shop local first. There are so many reasons to shop local. There is a varied selection of gift ideas from national and local retailers. There is an interesting selection of art. Unusual ideas, like gift cards from the Broyhill Civic Center for an evening of enjoyment after the holidays. Let your imagination take over and you’ll discover great gifting ideas in Caldwell County.

There are other advantages, such as increased sales tax revenue that benefits the entire county. Increased real estate sales may encourage other business to locate in our county. The more people shop in Caldwell County, the more diversity of businesses we will have. Enjoy your holiday shopping, and please shop local first!