There is a joy to participating in community traditions and celebrations during the holidays, from walking along a sidewalk with the streets decked out for the holidays, to shopping in local stores, to being greeted by someone likely to be the owner of the store, to finding gifts that are not mass-produced.
One way to be sure holiday shopping comes with some holiday spirit is to do a portion of your shopping in some of the area’s locally owned stores. There is special holiday ambiance available by shopping in the heart of a town that is decked out for the season. Small retail shops are part of defining any community. Their livelihood depends on the livability and quality of the neighborhoods around them. A small business owner pays attention to every detail in his or her business in a way that is otherwise unmatched.
We all benefit when local stores thrive, when local business districts beckon. An effort to support locally owned businesses has resulted in the recognition of Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, also called Shop Small. This year that day is Nov. 26.
Locally owned retail shops, services, restaurants depend on vibrant local communities to thrive, and communities depend on those businesses as well. Most small, locally owned businesses invest in community, helping to transform our towns and communities with a sense of place.
Frequently, it is the small retail person who is active in fundraising for local charities, advocating for improvements, for fire and rescue service, for local schools and in organizing holiday events.
Local retail stores, mom-and-pop stores, face tough challenges right now. Competition from big box stores and online sellers makes the holiday shopping season all the more important to locally owned retailers. But local families will literally spend millions of dollars to shop and exchange gifts during the next month in a variety of places.
Everyone will do some of their shopping at the mall. Everyone will shop online. Many will answer the call of the big box. But local shoppers should be sure to do some celebrating, shopping and dining locally. We promise it brings more joy.
Be sure to to to some of the hometown Christmas events coming up. Visit our holiday calendars to find more. — Mary Kimm firstname.lastname@example.org
Attend some hometown holiday events:
- Sounds of the Season, Friday-Saturday, Nov. 25-26, at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. Musical performances by Salvation Army Band, St. Stephens Performance Band and Hammonds Middle School. Visit simon.com/fashioncentrepentagon.com.
- Arlington Community Chorus to Present Winter Concert, Thursday, Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m. at Washington-Lee High School Auditorium, 1301 N. Stafford St. the chorus will sing a varied repertoire of choral music, including some holiday favorites. www.apsva.us/adulted 703-228-7200
- Miracle on 23rd Street Tree Lighting, Friday, Dec. 2, 6-8 p.m. at Linden Resources, 750 23rd St. S. Free on-street and lot parking available. Features The Grand Tree Lighting Ceremony, Santa arriving on an Arlington County Station 5 fire truck, visit with Santa, holiday musical entertainment, and face painting for children. Call 703-521-4441 or visit www.linden.org/event/miracle-on-23rd-street/.
- Holiday Chamber Music Concert, Friday, Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m. at Lyon Park Community Center, 414 North Fillmore St. IBIS Chamber Music featuring musicians from the Kennedy Center and Boston Pops orchestras. 703-755-0960; www.ibischambermusic.org
- Holiday House Craft Show, Dec. 3-11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m on Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. on Sundays. Wednesday, Dec. 7, noon-8 p.m. at the Hendry House, Fort CF Smith Park at 2411 N. 24th St. All items are created by local artisans. Call 703-243-7329.
- Holiday Market Festival and Bonfire, Friday-Saturday, Dec. 9-10, 3-11 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway. A shopping experience featuring unique, high-quality products from area small businesses. There will also be live entertainment and activities on both days of the market, including musical performances by local choirs, a bonfire and a rock band on Friday night. Free. Visit www.rosslynva.org for more.
- BalletNova presents the Nutcracker Petites Pre-school Performances, Friday-Saturday, Dec. 9-10, at Fredgren Studio Theatre, 3443 Carlin Springs Road, Falls Church. Friday, 5 p.m., Saturday, 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Advanced Sale: $16-$26 (additional $3 at the door). Email Caroline Frankil Warren at email@example.com.
- Penrose Square Winter Wonderland Festival, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2-6 p.m. at 2501 9th Road S. Event features a Holiday Sing-Along, a photo-op with the costumed Holiday "Yeti," refreshments and more. Participants encouraged to bring donations for Toys for Tots drive. Lantern Parade at 5 p.m.
- Holiday Choral Concert, Saturday, Dec. 10, 3 p.m. at Washington Lee High School, 1301 N. Stafford St. The Encore Chorales of Langston Brown, Alexandria, Potomac Arts Academy & Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads invite the community to a free Holiday Choral Concert. Visit encorecreativity.org, call 301-261-5747 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Facets of the Season, Sunday, Dec. 11, 4 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, 420 South Highland St. Seasonal concert by The Arlington Chorale. email@example.com 703-933-2500
During the last week of each year, The Connection devotes its entire issue to the creativity of local students and children. It is a keepsake edition for many families. The annual Children's Connection is a tradition of well over a decade.
We publish artwork, poetry, essays, creative writing, opinion pieces, short stories, photography, photos of sculpture or other creative efforts.
We ask that all submissions be digital so they can be sent through email or delivered on CD or flash drive. Writing should be submitted in rich text format (.rtf). Artwork should be photographed or scanned and provided in jpeg format.
We welcome contributions from public and private schools, individuals and homeschoolers. To be published, we must have first and last name of the student. Please include the student’s age and/or grade, school attended and town of residence, plus the name of the school, name of teacher and town of school location. Please provide submissions by Friday, Dec. 2.
Email submissions for the Children's Connection to firstname.lastname@example.org.