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Editorial: Welcome to the holidays

You might have noticed something different with this week's Spotlight, but it's more than just how we present our name.

While many view the start of the holiday season as being the day after Thanksgiving (or, as was sometimes the case this year, the evening of Turkey Day), we figure it's around the first of December that folks can really start getting into the spirit. Some rather comfortable fall temperatures haven't hurt that argument.

So this week, our reporters have delved into some holiday issues we hope will be of benefit to our readers.

Most everyone is fixated on shopping this time of year, so we've spoken with some local toy stores who might have something different for the little ones this year. We've also looked into the return of layaway, which some larger retailers are prominently advertising, and whether or not that phenomenon is a good thing for consumers.

This time of year also brings wonders to tantalize the eye, which is why we're covering the biggest light show in town, the Hannaford Capital Lights in the Park display in Albany. Though this is a yearly event, organizers have a few new features on tap for 2011.

And if you've never taken a holiday shopping trip to Saratoga Springs, you might fancy a journey after reading about the great lengths retailers go to when setting up their displays. You don't have to travel all the way to Manhattan to get that magical shopping experience.

Which brings us to an important point we'd like to impart our readers with. These holidays, as large retailers and online storefronts assault consumers with deep discounts, please think to your local businesses when choosing where to spend your dollars.

They may not be able to stock $2 toaster ovens or offer “door busters” every other day, but the people who own these businesses live in our communities, raise their families here and put money back into the places we live. A lot is said about buying local these days and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't support the idea, but in the end a few small purchases can trump all the good intentions in the world.

And on a similar note, take a moment to think of those less fortunate this holiday season, and consider helping out a family in need with a donation to Toys for Tots or another reputable organization.

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