First things first—I am totally not hating on Black Friday. I get it, a 3 foot teddy bear is totally worth camping out for. And losing sleep in the name of shelling out less cash for cool gifts makes sense. I guess.
My sister-in-law is a die-hard Black Friday shopper. Every year we make the drive up to Morgan Hill from Fresno on Black Friday and we usually arrive right when she's just getting home from an 18 hour day of shopping. We get to see her favorite deals of the day while she tells us the tales from the mall—the people grabbing scarves off of a table and pulling on the same one, the purse that one of her shopping companions had to have, and they had to turn around after they'd left the mall because it wouldn't leave her mind, fighting the parking crowds twice. I love Black Friday when someone else is in the thick of things.
But you know what I like even more? Small Business Saturday. I'm sure you've heard about it. Shop Small Saturday is the mom-and-pop shop's answer to Black Friday. This is a chance to use your dollar to empower an entrepreneur to continue building their dream (or empire). Plus, often times when you shop small for your holiday gifts you find unique items you never would have stumbled across in a 4am daze at the mega-mall. It totally ups your gift-giving skill level from super-basic to extraordinary.
So why, on a yarn blog, am I talking about Small Business Saturday? Because while the craft giants are super enticing with their "Buy 1 xcraftsupplyx, get 800 xcraftsupplyx," the majority of yarn shops are Local Yarn Shops (LYS) and are part of someone's entrepreneurial dream. As you're stocking up on yarn to make gifts (or to give as gifts) your dollar will take your community further when spent in an LYS. You give a boost to a local business owner, and you usually don't have to fight anyone for anything (even though I have been in an LYS that was wall to wall with shoppers, and people had armfuls of fiber and spinning wheels and yarn and it was STILL all very civilized.) And let's face it—even the lower end yarns at an LYS are still much more fun to knit with than anything you'll ever find at MEGACRAFTSTORE.
That's because the owners of local yarn shops are part of the community they live in. They pay attention to what their customers like, see the trends. They know that if they live in the desert, in the middle of August they probably want to have a variety of lighter yarns that won't induce heatstroke to just cast on. (I'm looking at you, alpaca.) They pay attention to the colors their customers like, they keep the patterns that appeal to their region on hand. It's a beautiful thing.
Sure, it may be more expensive, but when I'm creating something that takes hours of my life, I like to feel good about it from start to finish. I like buying the yarn that I know directly impacts someone—and when you buy yarn like ours (subtle plug) you aren't just giving your dollar to an LYS, you're also passing that vote of confidence along to a funky little warehouse with a few handfuls of employees who love what they're doing in the middle of a revitalizing downtown.
Don't get me wrong, there's a time and place for SUPERMEGACRAFT—7:30pm on a Sunday night when you've just broken the knitting needle and you have to finish the project for a gift tomorrow night? Yep. However, when it comes to conscientious gift giving and project making shopping small is the way to go.