Area retailers are preparing now for the start of the holiday shopping season, but it's up to consumers to determine just what that date is this year.
National chains are opening earlier than ever, with some offering bargains for those who venture out shortly after consuming Thanksgiving Day dinner. If the turkey day deals aren't enough to coax well-fed albeit sleepy shoppers to visit the stores on Thursday evening, the Black Friday doorbusters may.
Then locally, there's Plaid Friday to consider. That's what Downtown Winchester merchants are calling their alternative to Black Friday. They are hoping to draw holiday spenders away from the big box stores to the pedestrian mall with discounts, specials, music and more. Shop local for something unique, these and other merchants in Winchester and Frederick, Shenandoah and Warren counties are urging.
The Saturday after Black Friday -- and Plaid Friday -- is known as Small Business Saturday. This shopping day was founded by American Express in 2010. The focus of this campaign is to support local businesses -- and at the same time support your community by keeping the dollars spent in the area.
And finally, there's Cyber Monday -- "the" day for shoppers who either don't want to venture into the stores or those who want to take advantage of online-only deals.
So you have many choices on when to start your holiday shopping this year -- cut your Thanksgiving holiday short on Thursday, join the crowds at malls and big box stores on Friday and throughout the long weekend, shop local or check out those online deals.
But in all the fuss and rush to get the best deal, don't forget to remember why we celebrate Thanksgiving. May you have an enjoyable dinner before the craziness of the holiday shopping season begins for you -- whenever that may be.