Holiday sales and events continue throughout the metro-east, with the “official” start of Christmas shopping just a week away with Black Friday, followed by Cyber Monday.
Just writing it seems so impersonal. I say set aside, for the moment, the crush of giant stores and parking lots, or sitting in front of your computer with your credit card in hand.
Let’s aim for some Christmas atmosphere, a little old-fashioned merriment and gift-buying (or making) during one of these small-business events:
Check out the wreath-decorating workshops at Sandy’s Back Porch in Belleville from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Drop in any time during those hours. You can buy 24-inch wreaths ($29.99), swags ($12.99) and supplies ($15 for all the embellishments) there and get some helpful advice from the staff if you need it.
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While you’re there, you can ponder where to put the pretty birch logs and “sticks” (as Sandy calls them) when you take them home from the gift shop. A trio of birch logs is $3.99 while the tall birch sticks are $4.99 each.
Downtown Lebanon gets the award for best holiday atmosphere this Friday, Saturday and Sunday with its Victorian Holiday Weekend. Shops on St. Louis Street are open extended hours, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday (today) and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, with all kinds of other activities, from guided tours to lighting of the shop windows to entertainment.
Time for Columbia’s annual Holiday Hunt on Saturday and Sunday. Pick up an entry form at any of the more than 25 businesses along Main Street. Get it stamped by at least 15 of them and you’re eligible for more than $700 in gift certificates. Plus, you can get some holiday shopping done.
Before heading out this Saturday to do some shopping, stop in Fezziwig’s Market Place in O’Fallon, where from 9 to 11 a.m. owner Tim Moore will serve up his hot fresh beignets, as well as offer scones, coffees and teas. While you’re there, stock up on great food gifts, from the shop’s exclusive brand of olive oils and balsamic vinegars to the gourmet soup mixes and dips and spreads.
Mark your calendar: Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville is holding its 12th annual Indian Market on Nov. 27-29. You’ll find more than 30 artists selling Native American arts and crafts handmade by different tribes from across the country. Look for more information next Friday.
Mark your calendar: Nov. 28 is Shop Small, or Small Business Saturday, when shops and stores owned by local residents hope you will show your support and spend some money. More details next week.
Last-minute Thanksgiving supplies
World Market also has kids’ plastic plates and matching cups with a turkey design for $1.99 each.
Deals in Fairview Heights and all Dollar Tree stores in the area carry party supplies like foil roasting pans, heavy-duty faux crystal platters and two-packs of covered smaller foil pans (great for leftovers), all for $1 each.
Getting ready for Black Friday
For many, the ultimate search for Christmas bargains begins in a week on Black Friday. If you’re sane, you already have a good amount of gifts purchased to avoid the crowds and long checkout lines, but if you haven’t, here is some information to help.
I am in no way endorsing the idea that you should abandon the Thanksgiving Day table after dessert and head for Walmart or Kohl’s, but the number of stores open Thursday continues to grow. (See the attached list.)
At the same time, many big retailers are shunning the move and staying shut on Thanksgiving, so kudos to Sam’s Club, Dillard’s, Burlington Coat Factory, Home Depot, Lowe’s and DSW Shoe Warehouse and more. Outdoor gear and apparel store REI (with locations in St. Louis) has gone the extra mile and will be closed Thursday and Nov. 27.
Where to shop
Here’s a current list of big chain retailers with locations in the metro-east and the hours they open Thanksgiving — in case you want to plan your dinner around the sales. St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights will be open 6 p.m. to midnight Thursday, but some of its shops will be closed.