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The Chronicles of Nani On Video

I am overcoming my inability to type with my ability to talk (and talk and talk and talk) I'll be posting a video every week on my YouTube channel. I'll be posting those videos here too along with an occasional regular blog in the mix. (As long as my hands are up to doing the extra typing.)

You'll be able to watch the videos here, but I encourage you to stop by my channel at YouTube once I'm up and running to follow me and get my numbers started!

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

It’s Small Business Saturday

The holiday shopping season is in full swing as of yesterday with the shopping equivalent of the Super Bowl. The biggest differences between Black Friday and Super Bowl Sunday is that on Black Friday the fans are the ones competing and instead of eating standard homemade football party fare, competitors eat standard mall food court fare during halftime. Holiday shopping is best done however any individual finds the joy of holiday giving. For some it’s the competitive allure of the “doorbuster” deals. For some it’s the joy of knowing their shopping is already done by Thanksgiving so they can enjoy peace during the holiday season. I think the important thing is when you are shopping for gifts, let that spirit of giving wash over you and shop with that attitude. Not everyone does that, but whenever and however you do gift shopping, wouldn’t it be better for everyone buying and selling if we did that, or at least tried?

When I was in trade school, in 1990, I worked the holidays at San Francisco Music Box store. That was the coolest place I can imagine to work retail during the holidays because music boxes are very personal gifts. Even people who stopped in asking “do you have something nice for my mom?” or “I’m looking for a gift for my wife for Hanukah, do you have something thats not Christmas?” would leave with a thought to come back or a package in hand because they found that “ah-ha” gift they didn’t even now they were looking for. It was non-commission sales during the holidays, maybe because it was so easy, but it was so gratifying when I sold a music box because the person buying it was buying it as a gift most of the time and the gift they chose was very special. It captured the magic well. And music boxes are not at all just gifts for women! There was a very nice, masculine, wooden trinket box with a frame on top and space for a custom music box tune. With a kitten picture of Azreal in the frame and Spanish Eyes, a song my father loved to play on the accordion and my employee discount it was a Christmas present my dad loved.

Pop and I were talking about gifts for this year’s family celebrations on the phone the other day. Last year we drew names, so instead of choosing then finding gifts for everyone, we’re concentrating on just one person. We have a minimum set with the “rule” that past that you can spend as much as you want, but don’t expect the person who has your name to spend more than the minimum; Concentrate on the thoughtfulness of the gift and don’t spend more than you can afford. I drew my aunt who is a creative person, has some similar taste in books to my own and loves girly spoil things. I am just loving shopping for her!

Pop is not crazy about the suddenly he has to shop of it. LOL When my mom was with us she did all the shopping and the only gifts he bought were for her. Pop was a Christmas Eve shopper. As much as I don’t like being out shopping on Christmas Eve, I shopped with my dad for my mom on Christmas Eve. I joked at him about it but I really loved those few hours at the mall on Christmas Eve every year, just me and Pop. My mother was often pragmatic when she asked for a gift. She would actually ask for vacuum cleaner if she needed a vacuum cleaner and my father would tell her to go buy the vacuum cleaner and buy her something else for Christmas. Pragmatic gifts were neither special enough for Christmas nor for is wife. Something else was usually her favorite perfume and jewelry. We’d usually go into a couple of jewelry stores and look at jewelry until he found the piece or pieces that he felt were just right. Of course he would ask me what do you think often, but even if I wasn’t so sure he’d buy the one he though was right and Mom would gush over it an wear it to death. He obviously didn’t really need my help to pick out jewelry. I think I was really there for moral support for being in the mall and for our grown up daddy-daughter day. Then we’d go to Coffee Beanery for coffee and snack and he let me know that we needed to go through fine perfume on the way out of the mall because he needs to get just one more gift. As much as he always said he didn't like doing the shopping, he has told me a number of times that he did enjoy our Christmas Eve tradition.

Today, we acknowledge that holiday shopping may be about memories and special gifts to give, but we give another gift when we buy gifts because we add to the economy, moreover, when we shop small, that gift is a direct gift to the small business owner too. One of my sweet shopping memories is when Mom and I used to spend the weekend at Grandma’s, shopping in Tawas the day after Thanksgiving. Shopping in a small downtown was wonderful. It was as busy as a summer day during tourist season, sill room to move in the shops and time to talk to the shop owners and sales associates. I’m not a competitive shopper. I like to browse and really think about the gifts I’m buying. Some things I have around the house for the holidays take less thought than gifts. I still pretty much just throw a bag of almond holiday M&Ms in my cart. Some gifts are easy too, the ones that jump off the shelf and say “I’ve been waiting for you to find me for…”

Now I’m the Cyber Monday type, although I’ve already done most of my cyber shopping. I wasn’t the Black Friday at the mall type when I balanced well on two legs. Can you imagine trying to navigate crowds in a wheelchair?? I love that I can literally shop all over the world and take hours searching for the right gift. The other thing that I think is cool about the cyber world is that I have bookmarked sites for small businesses and family businesses I frequent too. I’ll finish this post up with a few of the small/family business my mouse frequently leads me to, also where I’ve already done some ordering in the past week or so.

Etsy is basically a craft mall online! I’ve purchased some dgital supplies from Etsy vendors. In fact this year’s Christmas cards wouldn’t have happened without Resale Clipart's Build-a-Snowman kit at Maddie Zee’s store. My Tigers “Turn Down For What t-shirt in 2014 was from an Etsy store and I’ve given beautiful hand-crafted gifts every year during the holidays.

Photojojo was a source of lots of stocking stuffers the year David switched to digital photography. They are a small company in San Francisco with a big web presence. They have wonderful gifts for pretty much any digital way you take photos, including how to upgrade your creativity and quality in that handy phone cam!

Ron & Franks is one of my favorite places going into winter! They are a small business out of Cheswick, Pennsylvania, that offers hot drink mixes in a greater variety of regular and sugar-free flavors that you’ll find in any chain store! They started selling their great drink mixes in 2001 at a local craft show and still sell their fabulous products in-person the same way. But with the website, I am sure to make at least one big order a winter to restock my supply of hot chocolates and instant cappuccino (What this once removed from the boat girl call cheat-a-chino) in great flavors sweetened with sugar, Stevia, Splenda or unsweetened. I recently tried Snick-AAH Hot Chocolate. STOP! I got unsweetened and added my own Stevia and with a 8-oz cup of water from my Keurig, I had a cup of Snickers heaven! I’ll be sending a gift to a special friend who will not go without a wonderful treat in spite of type 2 Diabetes!

Local Small business meets cyber-small town for me with Kohne Photo. They are our local camera shop, where my Canon G11 came from and where our Christmas cards have been done for as long as David and I have been together. I create the cards digitally at home and upload and place the order from home too. When I get the email that they are done, David goes to the shop across the Maumee River and picks them up. It’s using the internet to make it even easier to access your local business, but it also increases the reach of that business because if I wish I can give my business to them and have the cards shipped to me.

I spent a few years searching for a good source for the Italian treats I grew up with at Christmastime. One of the best things about the Internet is that small specialty stores are often crowded during the holidays and very difficult to maneuver with a wheelchair. (That’s not an excuse, just a reality) Finding a store on the web with the special things is much better than going to the local specialty store and MAYBE finding what I want . Torrone Candy is a family business that sells their classic Italian candies and sweets at their stand at festivals in the Northeast and has them available for one-stop internet shopping for all of us!

Nutscom! nuts.com is forever known to my family as nutscom, thanks to Pop. I got him a bag of chestnuts to go with a nuts history/cookbook a few years ago and he read the bag out loud in his not-so intent savvy direct way. One thing was for sure, Nutscom delivered good stuff! Nuts is a family business that started at the beginning of the Great Depression and has grown but remains a family business through the generations to a web presence and large selection of products. I get nut flours and candied fruits for baking, dried fruits and roasted nuts for snacking, even my most commonly used salad topper from Nuts-dot-com. At this time of year, it’s a great source for gift trays and baskets and wonderful things to offer on your holiday table.


Edna B said...

Oh my, what a handy shopping list of stores you have here. I especially like the one where you can buy unsweetened chocolate. I have a friend with diabetes and I have been looking for a sugar free cocoa for her. I'll have to have a look at this web site.

Last night I enjoyed several wonderful Christmas movies on TV, and today Pogo and I are watching re-runs of NCIS. In between, we'll try to be productive and wrap a couple of gifts. Well, I will. Pogo is having himself a nice long snooze. Hmmm, that's a guy for you!

Well, if I don't get going here, I won't be wrapping anything at all today. You have a fantabulous day my friend. Hugs, Edna B.

Deborah said...

I stopped by for the WWC freebie, and browsed down to the list of stores. What a great resource! I, too, have trouble shopping with big crowds and this was great list! Thank you!