A season to save in Schenectady County

Also, anyone who attends a Melodies of Christmas concert at Proctors will receive a ticket to get 20 percent off a meal or merchandise good in shops and restaurants the downtown Schenectady area. The concerts will be held Thursday, Dec. 18, through Sunday, Dec. 21. Tickets cost $25. For information call 346-6204.

The Rotterdam Square Mall is offering an incentive to the first 50 shoppers who come to the mall on Black Friday.

"We're doing a Black Friday pajama lounge," said Becky Valenti, the marketing manager for Rotterdam Mall. "We're inviting the first 50 shoppers that come to our food court soft seating area in to receive a gift card for $25 starting at 7 a.m., until supplies last."

Shoppers must be wearing pajamas to receive the gift card.

On another positive note, according to the Siena Research Institute's study, Upstate New Yorkers are giving more to charities this season and also volunteering more of their time to causes they deem important.

"Perhaps people are saying, 'I'm going to take some of that time I was running to the mall, and I'm going to go deliver meals, or I'm going to help bundle up gifts for the troops,'" said Levy. "The bad news is that it's not going to be a good retailer season, and if I own a store that depends on this season, I have reason to be concerned -- but there is an economic tsunami going on, and unfortunately there will be some casualties.""

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