Today is Black Friday across the U.S. It is a day that some shoppers look forward to with great anticipation and joy each year, while others shake their heads in dismay at the thought of battling large, overzealous crowds.
In fact, more and more people are doing their Christmas shopping online these days to avoid such turbulence.
But for those like me who still purchase gifts for family and friends the old-fashioned way -- in person -- it would be nice to keep one important thought at the forefront of your mind. Buy what you can from your hometown merchants.
After all, it is the hometown merchant who supports local schools, city government and myriad fundraisers in the community each year.
It is the hometown merchant who may build his home with supplies from the local lumber yard; purchase food and drinks from the local grocer; establish a checking and savings account at one of the local banks; worship at a local church; or join a local club or organization.
According to information retrieved from the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, of every $100 spent at a local business, $68 of that amount will stay in the community in one form or another as opposed to $43 if that $100 is spent with a national chain.
Shopping locally also enhances the tax base in the community and can lead to job creation.
"Shopping at local businesses is important every day, but especially during the holiday season when people are spending more money that any other time during the year," said Kristen Shull, administrative assistant to the Saline County Chamber of Commerce board.
It's certainly something to reflect upon when out and about this weekend and in the days leading up to Christmas.
As for me, I have already begun the shopping process for family and friends. And so far, I have kept a good chunk of my money in town.