One thing about many holiday traditions is that they eventually evolve into, well, new traditions.

Consider the time-honored tradition of Black Friday, that day after Thanksgiving that was said to make or break the holiday season for shoppers who were eager to snag a particular gift at a very special price. It involved weeks of planning, getting out of bed before the crack of dawn and waiting outside a store until the doors were finally open.

That tradition has slowly been disappearing for several years now, as many retailers expanded on the recent trend of rolling out their post-Thanksgiving specials Thursday afternoon and evening, not too long after the turkey and fixings had been cleared from the table.

The day has taken on an even different look this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced retailers — and consumers — to rethink how they approach the Christmas shopping season. With social distancing a must, merchants have found new ways to offer deals in an attempt to limit crowds in their stores. That has met there have been many Black Friday specials spread through November.

Newer shopping dates have been added to the holiday calendar. Small Business Saturday, which happens this Saturday, is a day set aside to encourage shoppers to patronize the brick-and-mortar stores that line main street and make up the backbone of our local economy. At the other end of the spectrum is Cyber Monday, which has become one of the busiest online shopping days of the year.

However you shop this holiday season, we hope you will keep some simple tips in mind. If you plan to venture out this weekend, remember that the streets around shopping areas will be a little busier, the parking lots more crowded and the lines at the registers a little longer.

Remember the spirit of the Christmas season –peace on Earth, goodwill to your fellow man — and don’t rush displays, push and shove, bully or jostle your fellow shoppers. What kind of a victory is it, we wonder, to have knocked an elderly person out of the way to be first in line?

Don’t be afraid to hold a door open for a fellow shopper or for someone who is trying to navigate a store with a stroller.

Wear a mask whenever you are out in public and wash and sanitize your hands often. It’s also not a bad idea to sanitize interior surfaces of your vehicles, including the steering wheel and door handles.

And, remember that sharing a smile or a kind word with a clerk who has faced a never-ending line of not-so-nice customers can make that person — and you — feel a whole lot better.

Above all, enjoy yourself, and happy shopping.

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