I am proud to say I let another Black Friday go by unobserved. Well, at least by me. Older teens tend to think it’s exciting to go out shopping in the middle of the night, even when they have no money to buy anything, so a couple members of The Herd did go out Thursday night/Friday morning. Whatever. I spent the day catching up on sleep, reading and going to see Breaking Dawn Part 1 (of which I’ll keep my comments to myself).

My small publishing company did observe Small Business Saturday, though, and, truthfully, the whole weekend for holiday specials. In fact, today we’re still celebrating Cyber Monday. I’ll get to that in a minute.

First, I’m going to hop on a soap box and do a little preaching. Because here’s the deal – we’ve allowed corporate America/corporate World to go a little too far. Corporations have way too much power and they’re playing a huge role in controlling our economy. Our governments are bailing them out with our money (we pay the government after all!) only for them to turn around and ask for more. More, more, more. All they want are hand-outs. Want to talk about entitlements? Okay, neither do I. I don’t want to get political on this blog. I specifically avoid politics for a reason.

But I do want to say this: Shopping local and/or small businesses this holiday season can make a huge difference in our local, national and global economies. It’s time to take things small again. When you shop in big box stores, your money goes to another state and likely another country. When you shop locally and with small businesses, most of that money stays in your local economy. You’re giving your friends jobs or allowing family members to keep the ones they have. You’re keeping your neighbors from having to close their family businesses.

In times like these, we need to ban together as people. We need to reduce how much we spend on material “stuff” made, distributed and sold by the big corporations and think about the everyday things we need that we can get from our own friends and neighbors.

For example, instead of buying a new TV or computer for someone at the big box store, think about buying them a gift certificate for a weekend at a bed-and-breakfast, a day at the spa or a year’s worth of housecleaning or car-washing services. Instead of video and computer games, think about gift certificates for a day out at the local zoo that includes lunch at a local restaurant and a trip to the ice cream shop. Everyone needs hair cuts throughout the year, pets need groomed, teeth need cleaned and whitened. Local gyms and personal trainers offer gift certificates. And don’t forget that some of the “chains” are actually locally owned franchises – just find out which ones are owned by real people in your community and support them.

I’m still making my Christmas list (yeah, that means I haven’t even started shopping yet), but I intend to make it a locally and/or small business shopped holiday season as much as possible this year. I’m making it a challenge for myself to see if I can do it. Wanna join me?

Now back to my small (as in teeny-tiny) business publishing company and holiday deals. Small Business Saturday is over, but on this Cyber Monday, I hope you’ll consider checking out Ang’dora Productions’ holiday specials. Through tonight, we’re offering an extra 15% off all orders, including those already discounted, in addition to free shipping offers AND including pre-orders of Devotion. Just go here and use coupon code “happyholidays”.

Did you catch that? We’re taking pre-orders of Devotion! And through December 25, you can get it for $2 off the expected list price of $16.99. Buy it before midnight tonight and get an additional 15% discount. These are paperbacks personalized and signed by yours truly (um, that would be the author).

While you’re there, check out the awesome packages we have for Soul Savers fans. Wouldn’t a collection of signed books be a fabulous gift to give?

Well, even if we don’t have anything for anyone on your list, I do hope you’ll consider the challenge of shopping locally and/or small this year. Happy shopping!