One thing about many holiday traditions is that they eventually evolve into, well, new traditions.
Consider the time-honored tradition of Black Friday, that day after Thanksgiving that was said to make or break the holiday season for shoppers who were eager to snag a particular gift at a very special price. It involved weeks of planning, getting out of bed before the crack of dawn and waiting outside a store until the doors were finally open.
That tradition is slowly disappearing, as many stores plan to expand on the recent trend of rolling out their post-Thanksgiving specials Thursday afternoon and evening, not too long after the turkey and fixings have been cleared from the table.
If that isn't enough to ruffle the feathers of dedicated shoppers, newer dates have been added to the holiday calendar. Small Business Saturday, which happens this Saturday, is a day set aside to encourage shoppers to patronize the brick-and-mortar stores that line main street and make up the backbone of our local economy. At the other end of the spectrum is Cyber Monday, which has become one of the busiest online shopping days of the year.
However you shop this holiday season, we hope you will keep some simple tips in mind. If you plan to venture out Thanksgiving night, on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, remember that the streets around shopping areas will be a little busier, the parking lots more crowded and the lines at the registers a little longer.
Remember the spirit of the holiday season -peace on Earth, goodwill to your fellow man - and don't rush displays, push and shove, bully or jostle your fellow shoppers. What kind of a victory is it, we wonder, to have knocked an elderly person out of the way to be first in line?
Don't be afraid to hold a door open for a fellow shopper or for someone who is trying to navigate a store with a stroller.
And, remember that sharing a smile or a kind word with a clerk who has faced a never-ending line of not-so-nice customers can make that person - and you - feel a whole lot better.
Above all, enjoy yourself, and happy shopping.