Today is Black Friday — historically the official kick-off to the holiday shopping season. But as far as the deals go, it’s been here for weeks. Retailers no longer wait for the day after Thanksgiving to start sales, with many taking the liberty to brand all sorts of promotions during the year as Black Friday sales.

But sandwiched between Black Friday and Giving Tuesday is Small Business Saturday — a day in which consumers are encouraged to do their holiday shopping and dining at local and neighborhood retail and restaurant outlets that help our community thrive.