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Holiday shopping season has already begun in town

NORTH CANAAN — Special downtown shopping events planned for December are aimed at giving a boost to local merchants. Just being noticed by residents would make some very happy. “Every day, weather permitting, we display merchandise out on the sidewalk,” said Ed Smith, who owns Mr. Ed’s Emporium on Railroad Street with his wife, Sara. “But I don’t think people who drive by everyday notice.”Inside, the shop is jammed with attractive items, from the Melissa and Doug line of toys to hand-knit accessories and enticing jewelry. The couple works hard to cultivate an ever-changing inventory of useful, fun and (especially) affordable items. Even in a small town such as this, where business owners are known to shoppers, locals cannot seem to get out of the habit of leaving town to do their shopping.“Who wants to go to the mall?” Sara Smith said. “Why spend all that gas, time and energy when you can buy something for anyone right here in town?”Dec. 1 promises to be a big night for both merchants and customers. A festive evening is planned, with shopping and a holiday atmosphere that will include holiday carolers. A shuttle service will be available, and local crafters — always a great source for unique gifts — will offer their wares at North Canaan Elementary School. Businesses will also be open late on two Fridays: Dec. 9 and Dec. 16. Many will offer specials, and purchases at participating business earn shoppers entries for two gift baskets. Among those open late will be the Canaan Valley Pet Shop. Owner Nancy Tidd said business is pretty steady year-round. “People aren’t buying pets for Christmas nearly as much as they used to, which is probably best,” Tidd said. “A lot of people do come in for stocking stuffers, and this is often the time the dog gets a new bed.”Tidd said she plans to be open those nights not only to be available to shoppers, but also to support her fellow merchants.She also noted that Nov. 26 is Small Business Saturday, a promotion by American Express and a long list of supporters urging consumers to shop at businesses in their communities. Information can be found online, including at the Facebook social networking site.Where else can one go to shop in North Canaan?There are gifts for cooks and anyone seeking presents with a touch of foreign flair at the Latinos Unidos market. Another good source of a variety of goods is the newly opened Just Another Hand consignment shop. Owner Rachel Call is excited for people to find the new Main Street business, which is filled with new and gently used items that make affordable gifts, such as Wellington boots and leather jackets. Toys, Tupperware, Party Light ceramics and slippers in unopened boxes are just some of the brand-new items. She also sells items from local craftspeople on consignment.At C.A. Lindell, there are tools, small appliances, lighting fixtures, bird feeders and work clothing. Stadium System has a wide selection of sporting goods and apparel, and is having a grand opening Dec. 1 at a new location at 297 Ashley Falls Road.Often overlooked for gifts is Canaan Apothecary, in the Stop & Shop Plaza. It’s a great option for wide selection of gift and holiday decorating items.North Canaan has two auto parts stores. Nearly anyone who drives might appreciate a holiday parcel that includes new car mats, a steering wheel cover or a road emergency kit.The holiday bazaar at the Douglas Library remains open for the month of December during regular library hours.For sale are baked goods, crafts by local artisans (including pottery by Joey Jablonsky), woodwork by Jeff Coan, jewelry, metal work from Battle Hill Forge, birdhouses, holiday giftware and of course, lots and lots of new books and DVDs at big discounts.Almost every business in town will offer gift certificates for everything from merchandise to services (such as haircuts) and meals. Look for ways to multiply giving, such as buying a reflective house number sign from the North Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corps or finding unique items at Habitat for Humanity’s This n’ That shop. Each purchase also supports a nonprofit organization that in turn helps community members. And of course shopping local supports everyone in town, by creating and maintaining jobs.

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