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Shop Small in the Spirit of the Holidays

Bah Humbug! That pretty much sums up my feelings about participating in Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when we're all encouraged to join the mobs and march off to the shopping mall in the wee hours of the morning to buy, buy, buy as the first official act of celebrating the holiday season.

Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays. It's just that I'd like to think that there's something more to them than plowing over other shoppers to be one of the first 100 in the store on Black Friday morn so that I can score a free Nintendo Wii game. Like Charlie Brown, I'm always looking for the true meaning and spirit of the holidays, and I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with 50 percent off sales or free shipping.

So, once again this year I'll be hunkering down at home on Black Friday, recovering from a turkey and stuffing hangover and spending time with my family. But this year I am going to venture out on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to literally do "a little shopping."

Saturday, November 26 is the second annual "Small Business Saturday," the day when locally owned shops and other small businesses are asking us to stop in and say hello, and, sure, spend some of our money. I like the idea of supporting the little guys, particularly in this rough economy. And although I'm a notorious cheapskate, even if I end up paying a little more for the things on my shopping list, I don't mind, since it feels more like the true spirit I'm always searching for.

I like to think if holiday shopping days were Christmas trees, Black Friday would be an artificial tree with flashing lights, whereas Small Business Saturday seems more like a real, live tree. Then of course there's Cyber Monday - the first Monday after Thanksgiving - when we're all encouraged to shop online, while sitting at our desks pretending to work. I guess that would be a virtual Christmas tree, provided that it doesn't end up in the spam folder.

Will you take part in Small Business Saturday? Share your comments below! You can find great ways to save this holiday season in's Money section, and locate lip-smacking holiday recipes in our Food section.

Photo by Owaki-Kulla/Corbis.

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