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Black Friday? Loco! Shop local!: Editorial

Thursday and Friday of this week represent stunning contrasts. Tradition dictates that Thanksgiving Day is a time for all to take a deep breath, relax and recognize and appreciate our good fortunes. It’s a time for turkey dinners and hanging out with family members.

The next day is Black Friday, the start of the holiday shopping season. It’s marked by consumerism, materialism, stress, cynicism and an every-shopper-for-himself attitude that has resulted in big-box store stampedes. No, thanks!

If you agree, you’re far better off avoiding that circus altogether. Instead, get some sleep, wake up refreshed and do your holiday shopping in your own community.

In case you haven’t noticed, downtown Los Altos is becoming more relevant by the day. There are some excellent new retail stores and restaurants dotting Main and State streets. From men’s and women’s clothing to jewelry and gourmet foods, the merchandise is varied, unique and high quality.

The downtown area also is proving quite an attraction for families and children. The gift options here, from toys to books, are not only plentiful, they’re also educational. And among the new additions this year are stores for hobbyists.

Virtually all the stores and restaurants offer comfortable, lower-key environments in which to shop. Best of all, the customer service is far superior to the big-box businesses.

At downtown stores, you’re dealing with people who are helpful and know their inventory. Most of them offer complimentary gift wrapping.

Although downtown boasts the lion’s share of activity, shoppers shouldn’t overlook the other six Los Altos shopping districts. Comfortable shopping also is available at Rancho Shopping Center, Loyola Corners, Foothill Crossing, Woodland Plaza, Village Court and along the El Camino Real corridor.

Despite the parking shortage, shopping downtown is still no hassle compared with the overcrowded national chains. Even so, downtown is scheduled to offer valet parking in mid-December, and merchants will distribute all-day parking passes at shoppers’ request.

It’s best to walk through town and discover what’s here. You’ll find lots of pleasant surprises. And you’ll keep your sanity.

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