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A new season

Nov 24, 2017 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher

This year's early Thanksgiving provides a longer-than-typical holiday season, at least by conventional standards. For many purposes, both personal and commercial, the Christmas season is defined as the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, at least in terms of gift buying.

In some circles, Christmas shopping has taken on something of the characteristics of, say, football season. We are flooded with "pre-season" projections, week-by-week updates, the performance of online retail vs. traditional brick-and-mortar stores, one store's performance compared to another, one year's performance compared to another, all part of an endless stream of analysis by supposed experts to tell us if we were meeting expectations, that they themselves have set.

Yes, it can get a little weird. But most of us love it all the same.

This year's Christmas shopping season, if we still adhere to those traditional guidelines, is a day longer than last year's, but nearly a week longer than the calendar provided just a couple of years ago. Ho, ho, ho.

Another comparison from this year to last year that might be worth making has to do with the weather. One year ago, deep winter had fully enveloped Fremont County by the time Thanksgiving did.

The first of at least a half dozen heavy snow storms had arrived, and we remained the blanketed by snow for months.

Things could hardly be more different this year. We are having the equivalent of March - perhaps even April - meteorologically speaking. Thanksgiving Day was so mild that Ranger staffers saw people on the tennis courts, and golfers must have been tempted to break out the recently stored clubs for one more round in the sun.

Will the mild weather make us better Christmas shoppers?

Our local merchants certainly hope that not having to worry so much about cold-weather driving, icy parking, slippery package-carrying, and other inconveniences associated with winter conditions will make for a better shopping season.

One day after Thanksgiving, we are happy to express our gratitude to the local businesses which are using the newspaper to reach consumers in these pivotal few weeks of their fiscal years. It's important to them, and it's important to us.

Our business community has been reduced by the closure of two big stores since last Christmas season - another development in local commerce whose could be closely watched between now and the end of the year.

With that in mind, we hope you noticed a front-page story in Sunday's edition containing information and analysis on business conditions through the eyes of local economic development leaders. Included were some details you might not have known, plus an overview which noted a positive picture of the business climate in town that might not immediately be apparent from off-the-cuff observations based on empty buildings were Kmart at Safeway used to be.

A respectable retail climate is terrifically important to the success of the community, certainly in terms of strict dollars and sense but also in cultivating and encouraging and general sense of well-being about how things are going.

During a time when so many things seem beyond our control, or even our influence, please remember that we as individuals are so, so important to that tone of success. In the coming months, when most of us agree to be spending mood, keep that in mind.

Never doubt that the dollars you spend locally are important beyond personal satisfaction gauged by things given and received. It's more than that. They are important to the community's very posture in the world.

This is where we live. In the Christmas spirit, let's support each other.

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