Today is the Second Annual SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY. This is a program started by American Express to create an extra incentive to think beyond just the Black Friday shopping lunacy and visit the local businesses that are the live blood of where you live.
So often, we tend to get sucked in by hyper Christmas ladies in ads or the promise of a cheaply made product that is cheap for a reason. We forget that the businesses run by our neighbors have a powerful effect on both the local economy and the local civic support system. They pay taxes to your local townships and cities, they support your charity drives, school functions, and team sports. They have employees who know their products and are available to talk with you about them.
And they and their employees put their money right back into the community to even greater benefit. I managed and general managed video stores in Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Roxborough, Conshohocken, Spring House, Hammonton, NJ, NYC, Center City Philly, and Chestnut Hill from 1983 to 2009. But when you forget the locals, all of those stores, and all of those jobs, and all of those financial benefits to your community are gone, in this case replaced by Netflix, Amazon, and downloading, because they are perceived as cheaper. However, sometimes the lowest price has a profound effect right at home. Ask yourself, who did you know who worked for video stores and who do you now know from your area who works for Netflix? Look around other businesses. See any missing in your neighborhoods that used to be there?
To salute the Philly/DelCo/MontCo/SouthNJ area at Christmas, here are a few Christmas goodies that are homegrown.
First, here is the Christmas classic JINGLE BELL ROCK as done by local boys made good DARYL HALL AND JOHN OATES.
Next, what was once a holiday tradition, THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS by the Mabel Beaton Marionettes. This would run on WFIL Channel 6 (now 6ABC WPVI) at the holidays, and was sponsored by the BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY. It ran with a second short of the Nativity.
For many years, a great holiday tradition in Philadelphia was the ENCHANTED VILLAGE at the LIT BROTHERS store at 8th And Market, which is now long gone (bad news for those who like their hats trimmed). This was an animatronic-style walk through of charming holiday displays, a must for every kid. Thankfully, much of it was lovingly stored and restored and was recently added to the collection of the PLEASE TOUCH MUSEUM in Memorial Hall / Fairmount Park in Philly.
Finally, another Philly Holiday tradition that lives on in the CHRISTMAS LIGHT SHOW at Macy’s, which was originally John Wanamakers. A wonderful blend of a great light show coupled with the WANAMAKERS GRAND COURT ORGAN, one of the most magnificent pipe organs ever. The first video is some of the light show shot in 1996, and the second is a flash mob arranged in the GRAND COURT AT MACYS by the OPERA COMPANY OF PHILADELPHIA with hundreds of singers breaking out in the HALLELUJAH CHORUS in the middle of the shopping day.