Today is November 25; which means there’s 4 days till Black Friday, a week till Cyber Monday and a month till Christmas and that the holiday season has officially begun!! WOOHOO!!
Of course you are because even if the start of the holiday season stresses you out everybody loves Black Friday…those of you non North Americans who are unfamiliar with Black Friday, its America’s other Boxing Day that takes place (usually) after Thanksgiving. (This year some retailers have decided to start on Thanksgiving, causing a bit of an upset with some people about being fair to their employees.) Retailers give ridiculous high discounts and everybody goes crazy for them, even going so far as to camp outside of stores for days to be the first in line. That’s dedication!! Especially this year with the weather being so fricken cold! It’s not just Americans that are crazy for this day, oh no! We Canadians loose our minds over it as well, every Black Friday weekend the border getting into America is crazy packed with Canadians trying to do some cross boarding shopping and for good reason. As mentioned before the discounts are crazy but even without them the American prices are a heck of a lot lower than the Canadian ones, which we Canadians find incredibly stupid!! I mean why should the same shirt from AE cost me $20 more in Canada than it would in the states? A lot of us feel the discounts we save in the States are totally worth the cost of gas just to get there and Canadians on average probably spend thousands in the states during the Black Friday weekend and Boxing Day, which has our government a little worried. Fortunately for them a recent study showed that most people are opting out of Boxing Day and instead plan to do all their shopping during the Black Friday weekend but still that’s thousands of dollars not being spent in Canada that could help grow and support our economy (not that our economy really needs it, but still) and thus, Shop The Neighborhood was born!!
Shop The Neighborhood is a campaign encouraging Canadians to support their local retailers instead of crossing the border to shop. I personally love this idea! I think everybody not just Canadians but Americans and everybody around the world should do this. Every city has great little villages within them; Mississauga has Streetsville and Port Credit, Toronto has too many to list off and in these little villages are great shops that hold unique and amazing items. These local retailers are part of the things that make giant cities so great and it really is a shame we don’t take advantage of them more. Mom and Pop stores are chock full of unique and original products that you just can’t get at the big box stores, products that have a history, a story and those are the ones that make the best gifts. I mean who wants another mass-produced china set when you can get a hand carved and painted one from Chile? Jewelry from Peoples is nice but jewelry hand crafted by a local artisan that no one else will have is much more impressive. Let’s face it the big box stores; Wall-Mart, Target, JC Penny, the Bay, they don’t really need our help but the local retailers…they do.
So this holiday season I say we forgo the mall and the chain stores and get creative!! Visit your local neighborhoods; your Little Italy’s and China’s or Fashion District and support your local retailers. You really will be surprised of what amazing things you can find, who knows, you might just find your new favorite store. If you do happen to find your new favorite store of if you already have a favorite local store be sure let me know in the comment section and of course the city in which its found :P. I’m always looking for great stores to check out and review…which reminds me there’s a little shop in Port Credit that I’ve been dying to check out. It has one of my friend’s name written all over it, I have no doubt I’ll be able to find her something in there no problem. So be sure to stay tuned for my review on it and some great tips on how to relax after all this crazy holiday shopping.