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How many shopping days?

November 11, 2015
By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer , Estherville News

I remember only one occasion shopping on Black Friday. I was about 12 years old and we spent Thanksgiving near Kansas City with my maternal grandparents (my mom's father and stepmother) and the resulting step-family members, Bruce, a lawyer, Kathie, a nurse at the University, and Tiffany (my age) and her younger sister Briana. That family unit hosted us in Kansas; the rest of us drove many miles. We shopped at a mall near the Hallmark Cards headquarters and searched for the perfect gifts, mostly for our grandparents though I spent a bit on the cat at the first pet toy store I had yet seen. What I remember from being 12 was the company, not the deals. I don't recall arriving at the crack of dawn nor witnessing people beating one another down for that thing they had to have.

Black Friday has become an event, and now many of the stores are rolling it back to Thankspending. I guess after a day to give thanks, we should leave our loved ones to their digestion and run out to buy a lot of things we don't need. We celebrate Buy Nothing Day on that very same Friday. It actually takes a bit of planning to be sure we have enough leftovers from Thanksgiving and enough dish soap and coffee filters and gas in the car so we aren't even replenishing those things we usually do on Fridays.

Whether or not you camp out at the local chain stores to get the deal you must have from the shiny ad, don't forget about the next day Small Business Saturday. Shop local. Hyperlocal. Here in Emmet County. Beyond the stores (and there are some good ones), don't forget about gifts from local vendors of the cooking supplies, beauty products, essential oils, foodstuffs which improve the economy of families right here. If you don't know any of these people, I collected a ream of cards at the vendor fare at Taste of Home, and I'm happy to share.

Sunday, as far as I know, is a day of rest from the consumption (though on a personal note, I'd highly recommend trekking to the Tree of Love Lighting Ceremony in Spirit Lake at 5 p.m.)

Monday has become Cyber Monday when all the good deals online come to fruition. While you're perusing Everything Under the Sun at, I hope you will consider logging in through so that part of your purchase (at no extra cost to you) will go to a local nonprofit organization. It isn't much per purchase, but every little bit counts yes?

That brings us to a day you may not have heard of. Giving Tuesday. After buying the latest gadgets and fashions and baubles and sports equipment toys and books and bedding and decorations and food and fun take a moment and remember the nonprofit organizations that do good in the community day in and day out. Many have online giving. Whether it's a national nonprofit with a regional presence, or one of the organizations here in Emmet County or nearby north Iowa, maybe we can live with 90% of what we really wanted to buy, and give 10% to an organization that does good. Running a charity myself, I will say unrestricted funds are best. You are contributing to the projects they are running in order to recruit volunteers, project manage, build a program, commit acts of outreach, and make something happen you need someone to do it. Hence salaries, insurance, lights, printing, Internet service, chairs, desks, and hand sanitizer make it all possible. It's not as romantic as believing you're providing meals for children or seniors, or a new youth center, or shelter, or counseling, or help for a family in crisis. Believe that with all the stewardship of your donated dollars, you are. Don't forget about the arts and athletic booster clubs, the firefighters and law enforcement associations, and other service groups who make things better for us.

I hope every one of you remembers this special "shopping" day Giving Tuesday. If you're on Twitter, there is lots of information and inspirational goodness at #givingtuesday. Watch social media for your favorite nonprofits' announcements about Giving Tuesday.



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