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Pleasanton Weekly

Column - November 22, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like . . .

by Jeb Bing

It's beginning to look a lot like (Thanksgiving) Christmas, everywhere you go, and especially in Pleasanton where downtown and Stoneridge Shopping Center merchants have been jumping the marketing gun for quite some time. This weekend alone, the Pleasanton Downtown Association is sponsoring major holiday shopping events. Over at Stoneridge, Santa Claus has been greeting hopeful children all month. At the Fairgrounds, they're already unwrapping the first bundle of Christmas trees.

The media has been filled for weeks with Christmas shopping specials. Promotions seem to scream "shop now" and "why wait?" Most of the major national retailers, including Macy's, Nordstrom, JC Penney and Sears in our mall, will open in the early evening Thanksgiving Day. Walmart will open at 6 p.m. and K-Mart, wherever that is in the Bay Area, plans to stay open all Thanksgiving Day. Only Costco seems determined to hold the line, letting its employees stay home for the holiday, but it, too, has bombarded its members with a sales brochure for Black Friday, Nov. 29.

Maybe President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had it right. For decades after Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a holiday to be observed on the last Thursday of every November, FDR, answering the appeals of retailers distressed by an ongoing depression, moved it to the third Thursday. After outcries from Congress and others, a compromise was reached to celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday to give businesses a bit more time to attract holiday sales. But this year, even with Thanksgiving coming about as late in November as it ever does, it's making no difference to retailers who now peg Halloween as the start-date for holiday promotions.

Downtown Pleasanton ushers in the holiday shopping season tomorrow with holiday cheer for three "magical" community events. "Earlier Than the Bird" ushers in special sales at 22 downtown merchants from 7-11 a.m. This popular event is designed to launch the holiday shopping season in a festive and entertaining way, and provide special offers before next week's Black Friday. Additionally, shoppers who arrive wearing their pajamas and check in at the Museum on Main, located at 603 Main St., will receive a free reusable Downtown Pleasanton shopping bag.

Then in the afternoon, the PDA-sponsored inaugural Holiday Spirit Stroll will take place from 4-7 p.m., with 15 downtown merchants open for a festive night of sampling beer, wine and cocktails, all while shoppers also help ring up sales on the cash registers. Tickets are available for $30 online at instagift.com/pda as well as at Studio Seven Arts, 400 Main St.; Clover Creek, 670 Main St. and Berry Patch, 350-A Main St. through today, Nov. 22. Tickets can be redeemed from 3:30-6 p.m. tomorrow at the Museum on Main.

If available, tickets will be on sale at the event for $35 cash. Ticket price includes wine, beer or cocktail tastings at 15 downtown locations and tasting map. Approximately 500 tickets will be sold. The PDA is to be commended for designated-driver tickets for $5 cash during tomorrow night's Spirit Stroll and for including taxi contact information in its programs.

This Stroll will coincide with Magical Holiday Evening from 4-7 p.m., a popular annual shopping event in downtown Pleasanton. So far, 23 downtown merchants have signed up to participate. Downtown streets will come alive with live music, special offers, refreshments and an early visit from Santa Claus. Children, including those who may have already gone over their Christmas wish list with Santa at Stoneridge Mall, can see him again and even have their pictures taken with Jolly St. Nick in front of the museum from 4-7 p.m.

Then there's the annual holiday parade in downtown Pleasanton from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 7, with the lighting of the holiday tree following in front of the museum. I'll be there along with Gina Channell-Allen, our publisher, riding in a Model A Ford to promote the Pleasanton Weekly's 2013 Holiday Fund.

We'll be waving happy holiday and Merry Christmas wishes then. For now, since it's still November, let me say Happy Thanksgiving.

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