Even though many of us have been listening to holiday music in stores since the end of October, today marks the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
Given the somewhat ominous moniker of "Black Friday," it actually means when businesses make enough sales they end the year with a profit, or in the black, rather than at a loss, or in the red.
Black Friday shopping has turned into an event that many people look forward to all year. On this day, for a few hours, stores offer their deepest discounts on many of the most-sought-after items available.
Black Friday Shopping is so popular, many people begin standing in lines outside the stores the night or days prior to ensure snaring their item before they sell out.
In many locations, Black Friday has turned into a free-for-all, with shoppers racing in the aisles and, occasionally, fighting for possession of a limited-stocked item.
Fortunately, in our area this is not a common occurrence. Most shoppers here on Black Friday are good sports, being polite to others and treating it like a family outing.
The game played between customers trying to get the most out of their hard-earned dollars and the retailers trying to get customers into the stores becomes more seriousness during this time of the year.
Because of economic conditions, consumers have limited budgets to spend on gifts. The competition is fierce among retailers facing the difference between a profitable or a nonprofitable year.
But one thing is certain, Black Friday gets customers into the stores.
While most of the crowds are drawn to the larger retailers, we ask customers not to forget the smaller stores.
Small Business Saturday is this group's version of Black Friday. Many smaller retailers offer unique items that would make wonderful gifts on a Christmas list.
Whatever route you choose, please keep the spirit of the holiday in mind during the next few weeks while rushing from store to store and aisle to aisle looking for that special gift, and while standing in long checkout lines. Yes, it may be somewhat frustrating, but it is a wondrous time of year.