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
Attend some hometown holiday events
- Community Thanksgiving Service, Thursday, Nov. 24, 10:30 a.m. St. James’ Episcopal Church, 11815 Seven Locks Road, Potomac. Annual ecumenical community Thanksgiving Service. Collecting donations of nonperishable food for Samaritan Ministry. 301-762-8040 www.stjamespotomac.org
- “An Evening with The Mavericks: Sleigh Bells Ring Out!" Friday, Dec. 2, doors open at 7 p.m. and show is at 8 p.m. at Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. $41-$86. www.strathmore.org/events-and-tickets/the-mavericks
- Snow on Snow, Saturday, Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m. at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, 6601 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda. The Thirteen, the all-star professional choir, will celebrate the story of Christmas through English-language works from the 15th century through the present day.Tickets are $25/$20 for general/students at the door; $20/$15 in advance. Visit www.bradleyhillschurch.org for more.
Winter Wonderland, Saturday, Dec. 3, 1-4 p.m. at Veterans Park, located at the corner of Norfolk and Woodmont avenues. Ice sculpting presentation followed by choral performances from local school groups. Call 301-215-6660 or visit www.bethesda.org.
Arrival of St. Nicholas, Saturday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at St. Francis Episcopal Church Hall, 10033 River Road. Saint Nicholas will tell his story, enjoy cello music, lunch followed by crafts and advent wreath making workshop. The event is to encourage children to follow St. Nicholas by helping someone in need. Children may bring toiletries to be given to Stepping Stones Shelter. $15 per family which includes lunch and wreath-making materials. Age appropriate for 4-12 year olds. 301-365-2055 or 301-299-4296
- Clara Barton Holiday Craft Show, Sunday, Dec. 4, 1-5 p.m. at Clara Barton Community Recreation Center, 7425 MacArthur Blvd., Cabin John. browse pottery, woodwork, glass, things to eat, things to wear, things to read, all sold by the local artists, artisans, and authors who made them. Free. Visit www.friendscbcc.org for more.
- Rescue Squad’s Holiday Dance Party, Friday, Dec. 9 7-11 p.m. at Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, 5020 Battery Lane, Bethesda. Rescue Squad’s Holiday Dance Party Fundraiser with The Fabulous Hubcaps is a fundraiser for the B-CC Rescue Squad. $30 and dinner is available for an additional $10. 240-876-1532 www.bccrs.org
- National Philharmonic Performs Handel’s Messiah, Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 17-18, times vary at The National Philharmonic Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane. Hear Handel as the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale perform his most beloved oratorio, the Messiah. Led by Artistic Director Stan Engebretson, the concert will feature the National Philharmonic’s nearly 200 voice all-volunteer Chorale, as well as soloists Danielle Talamantes (soprano); Magdalena Wór (mezzo-soprano); Matthew Smith (tenor); and Christòpheren Nomura (baritone). Visit www.strathmore.org.
- Moscow Ballet's Russian Nutcracker, Wednesday-Friday, Dec. 21-23, 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore Concert Hall, 5301 Tuckerman Lane. CityDance students perform in Moscow Ballet's Russian Nutcracker. Visit www.strathmore.org.
During the last week of each year, The Almanac devotes its entire issue to the creativity of local students and children. It is a keepsake edition for many families. The annual Children's Almanac 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 Almanac to firstname.lastname@example.org.