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 go 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:
Bull Run Festival of Lights and Holiday Village, Nov. 23, 2016 - Jan. 8, 2017, 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville. A 2.5 mile stretch will be illuminated by holiday light displays. Drive the festival route from the comfort of your car; turn out your headlights and just follow the magical glow. After viewing the lights, bring family and friends to the holiday village to enjoy rides, refreshments, and of course, photos with Santa Claus. The cost of driving through the light show is Monday-Thursday, $15 per car; Friday-Sunday & Holidays, $20 per car.
Historic Clifton Holiday Homes Tour, Saturday, Dec. 3, 4-7 p.m. at the Town of Clifton. Tickets available from Town of Clifton merchants. Presale ticket pricing for cash or check sales: $25 adult; $5 children under 13. Presale ticket pricing for credit card sales – Belle Jar only: $30 adult; $5 children under 13. Day of event pricing for cash, check or credit (credit at Belle Jar only): $35 adult; $5 children under 13 and/or email email@example.com no later than Dec. 1.
Clifton Horse Society Parade and Caroling, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2 p.m. at the Town of Clifton. Arrive and Decorate 12:30-1 p.m. Meet at the Flood Plain 1:30. Kick off the holiday season by parading through the town to Lustre’s Field for the costume judging and to share refreshments. The Clifton Horse Society is looking for parade participants (adults and children). Horse not needed, decorated wagons and golf carts encouraged. Lynn Henderson, 571-224-4925 and/or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Art Guild of Clifton Holiday Art Show with Historic Candlelight Homes Tour, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2-7 p.m. at Clifton Presbyterian Church, 12748 Richard’s Lane. Fine art paintings, jewelry, pottery, nature photography. Art show admission is free. www.artguildofclifton.org and www.clifton-va.com
Interfaith Christmas Choir Concert, Sunday, Dec. 4, 6-7 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 14150 Upperridge Drive. Refreshments served after concert. 703-932-7197
“The Nutcracker,” Saturday-Sunday, Dec 10-11, 3 p.m. at Centreville High School Theater, 6001 Union Mill Road, Centreville. Proceeds will benefit CVHS Drama Scholarships and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. $12. email@example.com.
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.