Last night was a fantastic kick-off to York’s Holiday season!

Witnessing pure joy on the faces of children is something that truly warms our hearts and energizes us as we close out November and move through the month of December. Enjoying the sights and sounds of the holidays seems to always get everyone into the Christmas spirit. This time of year brings to light so many opportunities for us to give and share with those that may be having a few struggles. I would encourage everyone to seek out the chance to give of themselves.

Local businesses and organizations have several ways for residents to share the holiday spirit with others. Residents can ring bells and tour homes that are decorated for the holidays as a way to donate to local causes that help families and children. There are businesses offering chances to give away a furnace and a freezer as well as others that have giving trees. As you carefully select the “ornament” that is on one of the many giving trees, take the time to shop the variety of local retailers to fulfill that list. Our local merchants are always thrilled to assist shoppers as they work through their lists.

Doing business local is important in so many ways. Supporting local businesses during the holidays (as well as year-round) is something that everyone benefits from! As I mentioned earlier, our local merchants are so generous to give back to the community. Their generosity is a direct result of all of us supporting them in their business. In addition to that, the sales tax generated from our local purchases continue to support the superb amenities that residents enjoy in York all year round. The importance of doing business locally can never be underestimated.

As you go about your holiday shopping, the Chamber wants to reward you for supporting local businesses. York Chamber of Commerce annual Holiday Rewards program beganThursday, Nov. 21 and will run through Wednesday, Dec. 18. Customers conducting business with Chamber members and completing their purchase on and between these dates are eligible to participate. Simply bring your receipts to the Chamber office for validation. You will be given one registration slip for every $10 you spend at Chamber businesses. (Individual receipts will be capped at $5,000 but will be eligible for the special day incentives).There will be double and quadruple days again this year. Receipts will be four times the value if dated Nov. 21, Nov. 30 and Dec. 12. Saturday purchases will be two times the value. Those dates are Nov. 23, Dec. 7, and Dec. 14. Winners will be drawn at random while Chamber staff is live on the air at KOOL 103.5 FM/KAWL 1370 AM on Thursday, Dec. 19 from 7-8 a.m. When you hear your name called, you will call the station at 402-362-5954 to select your prize envelope. All registrations must be legible.Because utility bills and established installment loans are already set, your current payment during the Holiday Rewards time period will be eligible.

Yesterday kicked off the Holiday Rewards program and any receipts dated Nov. 21 are worth four times their value. Two other special dates with four-time receipt value will come up quickly and we hope that everyone comes out to take part. On Saturday, Nov. 30, we will once again participate in Small Business Saturday. We would like to be part of your family’s relaxation time on Saturday. The Chamber invites you to come and Shop Small in York! There are several businesses participating in the national campaign to Shop Small on Nov. 30. The Chamber staff will be set up outside our offices serving popcorn and hot cider to shoppers. Shoppers will be rewarded with a gift bag when they make purchases at our local stores and boutiques (while supplies last). The bags contain gift cards to local merchants to reward and enhance your holiday shopping experience. The day is a fun relaxing way for you to take time inside the stores and be assisted by the staff members. The remarkable front-end staff at our local shops have a knack for assisting people with selecting the perfect gift.

On Thursday, Dec. 12, we are calling on you to come and see all the fabulous storefronts during Stroll the Season. Shop, dine and appreciate the beauty in York on the 12th. As a special incentive, all receipts dated Dec. 12 will be four times their value for Holiday Rewards. The Chamber offices will remain open until 7 p.m., so consumers can stop in to have their receipts validated. Merchants always look forward to seeing their customers but there is something special about helping shoppers find the perfect Christmas gift during the holiday season. There are a few businesses that will be hosting receptions and having special sales on the 12th. As businesses are planning their sales and shopper appreciation treats, we will share those on the Facebook event, “Stroll the Season.”

On behalf of the Chamber team, we want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. This holiday is a favorite because we are able to focus on being with our families and friends. Hours of fun, food and fellowship are some of these most important times we spend together. We are thankful for this great community we live in. #whatsyoury

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