By the time most of you sit down to read this issue of your community newspaper, the annual Thanksgiving feast will likely be reduced to a refrigerator full of leftovers in Tupperware containers. Perhaps you and some of your family will have even taken part in the annual Black Friday trek to the metropolitan malls and big box stores to make those vital purchases that will be wrapped and stashed under the tree in a few weeks.
However, on Saturday I hope you will make an attempt to support the local businesses who serve you all year long in your hometown and county. This coming Saturday is a nationally proclaimed shopping day called “Small Business Saturday.” Most merchants in small to mid-sized communities realize they cannot compete with the pull of the malls and big box stores in large cities. There simply is no way they can afford to stock the merchandise the buying public thinks it needs to have a happy holiday season.
“Small Business Saturday” is a time to think outside the box about gift giving and supporting local merchants and groups that support your school, church, and community groups and provide many of the quality of life amenities you enjoy all year long. Many businesses in Peabody and Marion County will be open Saturday to serve you. Some will be open for their regular Saturday hours, some for extended hours, and some with special prices, refreshments, or merchandise. Get out and see what Marion County businesses have to offer.
Remember that these merchants and businesses are the ones who support your children’s fundraisers. They are the ones who sponsor athletic teams as well as scouting, 4-H, religious, and school groups. They also donate goods and sponsorships to community groups that raise money for libraries, parks, recreation facilities, and holiday events that bring additional visitors and notoriety to our cities.
We should make an extra effort to support them with our shopping dollars during the holiday season the way they support our community during the rest of the year. We are all in this together!
In a similar vein, it you are at that point in your life where you simply do not need or desire “more stuff,” this holiday season might be time to make a break from the traditional gift giving process.
When your children, parents, or siblings ask what you have on your list for Christmas, tell them, “Donations.” Make a list of those local or national groups you support and encourage the people who want to give you a gift to make a donation in your name to a cause that means something to you.
Hand them a list of specific organizations about which you have a passion. Groups in Peabody which depend largely on donations for their existence are the Downtown Christmas Lights, Peabody Historical Society, Peabody Community Foundation, Peabody Main Street Association, July Fourth Fest Society, Partners of Peabody Parks, Peabody Senior Center, Peabody Quilters, Community Food Bank, and many others. Youth groups like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, 4-H, Peabody Super Swimmers, and school groups could use your assistance.
I was pleased last Christmas when the Daughters responded to my request with donations in my name to several groups I am happy to support. They made my day!
-- SUSAN MARSHALL