If you have pledged to participate in Buy Nothing Day on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but don’t think you can go for the Buy Nothing Christmas, then I have another pledge for you to take: participate in Small Business Saturday. When you head out to do your holiday shopping on Saturday, avoid the big box national chain stores and shop at your local small businesses instead.

Although this is only the third year for the event, it is already popular among the Facebook crowd. The official Small Business Saturday Facebook page has more than 3.2 million Likes. People don’t just like the site, they are also discussing it. Thousands of people are actively talking about the day.

If you want to know why you should shop local when you might be able to find a better deal at your local big box store, then let me share with you a statement that New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg made in advance of 2011’s inaugural Small Business Saturday.

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the glue that holds communities together, and we’ve always sought new ways to support them — something that became even more important when the national economic downturn began," he said in a press release.

Here it is a full year later and the economy is still struggling. The nation’s small business owners are the key to the recovery and the more that we can do to help boost our local economies, the better the national economy becomes.

If you’re not moved by the spirit of the day, perhaps incentives will convince you to shop local on that post-Thanksgiving Saturday. American Express, the company that conceived of the Small Business Saturday campaign, is offering extra credit points if they use their card on that day. Of course this offer comes with several terms and conditions that must be met, so make sure you read the fine print first.

American Express doesn’t have the shop local movement cornered with its Small Business Saturday. Portland, Oregon, has set up a program of its own: Little Box PDX. If you live in the Portland area, simply visit one of the locally owned shops listed on the website. Take your receipt from that store to another store on the list and receive a 10 percent discount.

What are your plans? Are you going to participate in Buy Nothing Day, hang out at local shops for Small Business Saturday or go for the gusto and pledge to have a Buy Nothing Christmas?

Shop small on Small Business Saturday
Support local small businesses in your area on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.