Thanksgiving is the day set aside to be grateful for what we have and the days after Thanksgiving are set aside to get more stuff that you can be thankful for next year. The shopping frenzy now begins on Thanksgiving itself, moves through Black Friday and includes the online blitz known as Cyber Monday. With thousands of dollars to be spent over a handful of days, local retailers are hoping to capitalize on the season with participation in Small Business Saturday.

Held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday rose to prominence in 2010 thanks to a national promotion campaign by American Express. The intent is to motivate shoppers to keep their dollars within their communities and support community based merchants.

According to Santa Monica’s Buy Local program, when residents and fellow businesses choose to shop local as much as 70 cents of each dollar stays in the community. Keeping that money in the local economy supports local schools, local residents, local youth sports and charities.

In Santa Monica, the Buy Local Committee is partnering with the Montana Avenue Association to promote Small Business Saturday on November 28.

“Small Business Saturday is a wonderful nationwide campaign that Santa Monica welcomes each year to support buying local at our small businesses,” said President & CEO of Santa Monica Travel and Tourism, Misti Kerns in a statement. “It’s a great way to remind ourselves of the importance of supporting our incredible local business so that our destination is able to maintain the sense of community that our locals value so deeply.”

The Montana Avenue merchants will host a street-wide celebration from opening to closing. The event will include live entertainment, special promotions and sidewalk sales between 6th and 17th Streets.

““Buying local not only supports the local businesses on Montana Avenue and throughout the city, but keeps dollars in Santa Monica to support our local schools and essential city services, such as police and fire, parks and libraries,” said Jane Walker, Chair of the Montana Avenue Merchants Association and a Santa Monica resident for 37 years. “When you chose to buy local and not on the Internet, it makes a huge difference to our Santa Monica community.”

Local businesses are key supporters of local schools.

“Shopping locally makes a difference.  Last year, purchases made at Santa Monica businesses raised over $7.5 million for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. When you’re making your holiday purchases in Santa Monica, you’re also giving back to our schools and to our community,” said Linda Greenberg Gross, Executive Director of the Santa Monica Malibu Education Foundation and a member of the Buy Local Santa Monica Committee.

While Montana merchants are organizing entertainment, the value of shopping locally extends citywide.

“We have many wonderful businesses located in Santa Monica and we want to encourage everyone to support their favorite local businesses for their holiday shopping and holiday preparation needs, said Jennifer Taylor, Chair of the Buy Local SM Committee. “From Montana Avenue to Main Street, Pico to Ocean Park Boulevard and throughout Downtown Santa Monica, you can find unique and fun gifts for everyone … and have fun at the same time, as you see your friends and neighbors.”

Buy Local Santa Monica was created by representatives of the Santa Monica business community and the City of Santa Monica to support local businesses and encourage local buying. Buy Local creates an annual Perfect Gift Guide to promote local holiday shopping. The Guide is distributed as an insert in the Daily Press and is available online at

Here are some upcoming Buy Local for the Holiday Events to make your holiday shopping and preparations fun and festive:

Pajama Jam Locals Only Holiday Party on Monday, November 30th from 5:30-8:30 pm at Loews SM Beach Hotel’s pool deck, kicks off this year’s Extra Bedroom program.  Dress in your favorite holiday PJs and get ready for food and refreshments, family activities, photo booth fun, giveaways and more.  The participating 2015 Extra Bedroom hotels will be there to promote their various offerings such as holiday menus, spa treatments, and other special programs and amenities available to guests.  Organized by the SMTT.

The Buy Local for Holidays Sidewalk Sale on Main Street, Montana Avenue and Pico Boulevard is taking place the weekend of December 4th -6th and includes free family festivities and exciting events for Santa Monica locals and visitors alike to enjoy the holiday season in each of Santa Monica’s neighborhood commercial districts, including:

Montana Avenue Holiday Walk will be held on Friday, December 4th from 5-9pm. Join the shops on Montana Avenue, from 6th to 17th Street for specials, holiday festivities, live music on every block, treats, Santa and merriment!  This event is organized by the Montana Avenue Merchants Association.

Pico Holiday Hop is on Saturday, December 5th, 12-4pm along Pico Boulevard, from 34th Street to the ocean.  Attendees can enjoy kids’ art and craft activities, entertainment, treats and “selfies with Santa” at the Venice Family Clinic parking lot (2509 Pico) along with open-door parties, holiday shopping specials, treats and live music at participating Pico shops and restaurants!  Look for the red bows for participants, and keep an eye out for carolers, Santa and more. Organized by the Pico Improvement Organization.

Main Street Holiday Celebrations will take place on Saturday, December 5th from 6-9pm.  Come to the tree lighting on the California Heritage Museum Lawn at 6pm, and follow a procession to the famous shopping cart tree at Edgemar Center. Parties will be held at participating Main Street businesses, including live music, treats and holiday shopping opportunities, organized by the Main Street Business Improvement Association.

Buy Local for the Holidays on Ocean Park Boulevard takes place on Saturday, December 12th from 10am- 5 pm with special holiday sales and treats at participating businesses on Ocean Park Boulevard, between 16th to 18th Streets.  Organized by the Ocean Park Boulevard Merchants.

WinterLit Holiday Festivities in Downtown Santa Monica include the popular ICE at 5th and Arizona, brings outdoor ice skating under the palm trees to all ages throughout the holiday season (until January 20th). In addition, there are tons of fun activities for all ages being hosted throughout downtown and at Santa Monica Place, including a Tree Lighting with Santa on  Thursday December 3, 5:30-8:30 pm, and a Menorah Lighting from December 6th-13th at sundown, both on Third Street Promenade. Organized by Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.

For more information on more of Santa Monica’s holiday events, including Bergamot Station’s Annual Holiday Open House, Saturday December 12th from 12-4pm with live music, holiday drinks and bites, food trucks and more; as well as the return of the 7th Annual SANTA Monica Pub Crawl, also on December 12th at 5 pm, visit

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...