THE WOODLANDS, TX – Over the years, Thanksgiving has morphed from a day or rest, feasting, and family quality time into more of a ‘Black Friday Eve,’ with the afternoon naps being less tryptophan-induced and more preparing to hit the midnight sales.
After the turkey is finished, the savings begin
A quick history lesson on the origins of Black Friday. Stereotypically, many believe that it signifies the day where each year retailers finally sell enough merchandise to come out of the red in their ledger books and into the profitable black. This, however, is an urban legend; it actually was first described in this context (and not the original definition based on an 1860s New York Stock Exchange-related gold monopoly attempt) as coming out of Philadelphia in the 1960s. The phrase became so negatively connotated with near-rioting of shoppers that area retailers tried changing it to ‘Big Friday,’ but that didn’t stick. The word spread and now Black Friday is universally recognized for what it is.
Those of us of a certain age can wistfully and fondly look back upon days of yore when hours were spent poring over the annual JCPenney or Sears catalog and dog-earing the pages of our wishlist items. In today’s society of instant gratification and fad crazes, there’s a need for more immediate shopping opportunities. Mail-order outlets have diminished over the years, and today online retailers and brick-and-mortar operators jockey for position as the most popular shopping option.
Even Black Friday has altered to accommodate the more eager shopper. It’s only ironic in how unironic it is that stores all over the place have been offering Black Friday deals all week long. However, despite the somewhat slow-but-steady pace of ‘early Black Friday’ shoppers, the actual day after Thanksgiving (in many cases commencing at precisely one minute past midnight) will be a rambunctious retail free-for-all.
While Black Friday is typically associated with large-ticket items being placed on massive discount so that we can replace our TVs, computers, and even cars for less, Woodlands Online would be remiss if we didn’t point out that The Woodlands area has hundreds – if not thousands – of local retailers, from small mom-and-pop shops to major local franchises and chains, that will be happy to accept your business, and who can offer a shopping experience that doesn’t involve thrown elbows and stampedes. In fact, some outlets will even go above and beyond to make the experience more sedate and pleasurable, such as Market Street providing live holiday music to soothe the breast of the harried shopper.
If you want to avoid the Black Friday rush as well as support local businesses, hang on for 24 hours and then take full advantage of Small Business Saturday. First conceived of in 2010 by American Express to help small businesses gain exposure and to inspire consumers to shop within their own communities during the holiday season, this post-Turkey Day sales event has proven to be a massive boon for Woodlands area small businesses and local non-chain retailers.
We here at Woodlands Online are huge supporters of shopping and buying from local merchants. Not only will there be countless brick-and-mortar retail businesses open this day, but there will also be several area farmer’s markets on that day in various neighborhoods. While you can spend the entire day hitting store after store to get some great deals, we’re particular fans of the aptly named ‘Biggest Small Business Sale of the Year’ at Robichau’s Jewelry, complete with refreshments, raffles, and significant discounts.
Believe it or not, there is not a designated shopping day for the 24-hour period between Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, although we here at WOL wouldn’t be surprised if that changes soon. In the meantime, it’s a day of rest after the feasting and shopping frenzies from earlier in the week, and the brief lull before you overexert your mouse-clicking fingers on Monday.
Cyber Monday was first coined in 2005 by Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation and Scott Silverman in a press release titled “Cyber Monday’ Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year.” Their plan worked, because today 77 percent of retailers claim a massive uptick in online sales on this day.
Naturally, the inclination is to hit a certain online mega-etailer for all your Cyber Monday needs, but with each passing minute the odds of you getting your gifts delivered in time to be placed under the tree before Christmas dwindle. Woodlands Online would like to suggest that, instead, you scope out local merchants’ websites to see who is offering online deals with guaranteed short delivery (or pickup) dates. In fact, why not narrow your search by checking out our list of our 2022 Best of The Woodlands winners?
We end our post-Thanksgiving extended shopping weekend on the other side of the coin, with the concept of giving rather than purchasing. After the wackiness of hitting the mall, checking out local small businesses, and ordering everything but the kitchen sink online, the next day is designed to simply make you feel better about yourself and life in general: Giving Tuesday.
This special day has its origins as a 2011 brainchild of the Mary-Arrchie Theater Company in Chicago, whose producing director at the time Carlo Lorenzo Garcia urged shoppers in an article published in The Huffington Post to take a different approach; to consider donating to charity after they had finished their Cyber Monday shopping.
Not only can you reconnect with the holiday giving season by taking advantage of this day, but you can also take advantage of the tax benefits associated with donating to most nonprofit organizations. One particular such not-for-profit entity we here at Woodlands Online are fans of is The Woodlands Arts Council, who is asking you to help fundraise an additional $10,000 for its microgrant project so that they can support even more projects in this giving cycle. They only need 50 champions of art in this community to donate $200 each to reach this goal. Donors will be proudly listed on their website’s microgrant page and will receive detailed updates on the impact of their donation throughout the year.
Whether you’re braving the crowds, discovering new small businesses, chilling and clicking, or giving from the heart, there’s something for everyone this long weekend as we firmly and officially launch into the holiday season.
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