Friday, November 23, 2018

Black Friday and Beyond

Shopping is like a recreational sport for some of my friends. Black Friday is their Super Bowl.

Shopping is something I force myself to do when I need something. Despite my love of bargains, I don’t want to be anywhere near a mall or big-box store on Black Friday.

The holiday shopping season is upon us, though. It’s practically unavoidable. Yes, online shopping is an option, but I find a little holiday ambiance helps me get in the spirit. After Thanksgiving, that is.

I’ve found a solution that works for me, particularly for buying Christmas gifts. I shop small and local. There are a number of art and craft shows in Greater Cleveland between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There also are some pop-up shops that open just for the season. I have found unique gifts and some deals at these venues. And even though I don’t like shopping, I have found the experience really pleasant, especially when I talk with the people who made the items they’re selling.

This is not a comprehensive list; it’s a sampling, based on places and events where I have shopped.

Black Friday is happening from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at 78th Street Studios. You can walk off the calories you consumed yesterday as you shop.

Small Business Saturday is tomorrow at numerous Northeast Ohio sites, including the West Side Flea in North Olmsted and Screw Factory Artists Lofts in Lakewood and as part of the Winterfest Tree Lighting & Holiday Festival in downtown Cleveland. Each event will feature multiple small businesses.

There are a slew of small retail businesses throughout Greater Cleveland. Areas that come to mind quickly are Larchmere Boulevard in Cleveland, home of Loganberry Books and some great shops and restaurants; Coventry Village in Cleveland Heights, which has Mac’s Backs, Tommy’s and one of the two In The 216 shops (the other is on Clifton Boulevard on the Cleveland-Lakewood border) among many others; Detroit and Madison avenues in Lakewood, where you’ll find the Home for the Holidays pop-up shop and plenty of stores, coffee shops, bars and restaurants that operate year round; and the Shops of Old River in Rocky River, site of one of my favorites, Pure Enchantment.

Other venues for holiday shopping in the weeks ahead:

Coventry Village Holiday Festival, Saturday, Dec. 8. Last year it included free parking, a rare find in Cleveland Heights. I don’t know whether that’s being offered this year.

Cleveland Bazaar Holiday, Dec. 8 and 9 at 78th Street Studios.

Third Friday at 78th Street Studios, Dec. 21. Most of the studios on the building’s four floors will be open. Potential gifts, plus food and drinks, will be available. I bought quite a few gifts here last year.

What have I missed? Where do you like to shop small and local for the holidays?

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