Let’s pause to give thanks before looking toward Christmas

It starts earlier every year!
The deluge of holiday promotions and retail advertising geared toward Christmas shoppers is in full force now, a full five weeks before friends and families begin gathering around the tree to exchange gifts and well wishes. It used to be that turkey with all the trimmings were served before that process took center stage, but those days are long, long gone.
Now Black Friday rings the bell as the official start of the Christmas shopping season, though we’ve been seeing pre-holiday messages for weeks already. The Cyber Monday phenomenon has become one of the biggest retail days of the year, reflecting just how much the retail landscape has changed in recent years.
This year the starting line is being pushed back further still. At least one major big box retailer is trying to beat the pack with pre-pre-pre-Black Friday specials, which of course means that all the others will follow suit.
No matter how early the national ad campaigns begin, I for one will stick to my guns and start thinking about holiday shopping in the more traditional time frame. Maybe it’s just a guy thing, but a full month of shopping seems like plenty of time to me.
Another tradition that will always be part of my routine is shopping local, whenever possible. Area retailers are working harder than ever these days to carry gift items that appeal to all the names on my list. I’m always pleasantly surprised with what I can find right here at home, and on numerous occasions have been able to get a specific item custom ordered for me, just by asking. Try finding that kind of user-friendly customer service online or in a big box chain.
One of the holiday themes gaining steam across the country is Small Business Saturday, which as the name implies encourages Americans to shop at small, local businesses in their hometowns. Aurora’s retail community dialed into that campaign in recent years, and will again this year on Saturday, Nov. 24.
Good selection, great deals and hometown service you simply can’t put a price tag on are all available here, which are worth your time and attention.
But before we start thinking about Christmas, this week’s main focus should be on Thursday, of course, when we gather as families, and a nation as a whole, to count our blessings. If you are fortunate enough to share turkey and all the trimmings with loved ones, do so with an open heart, sharing that sentiment with neighbors, friends and anyone you know. Our community, state and nation has so much for which to be thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving.
Kurt Johnson

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