Editorial: Strolling and spending

A large crowd showed up for the annual Holiday tree-lighting on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 in Ridgefield Conn.

A large crowd showed up for the annual Holiday tree-lighting on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 in Ridgefield Conn.

Bryan Haeffele / Hearst Connecticut Media

November’s holiday of turkey and stuffing has passed, and December’s holidays — the Jewish celebration of sacred lights, and the Christian commemoration of a holy birth — lie ahead.

But first comes the shopping, spending, the gifts for loved ones — some purchased with thought, others on impulse.

Ridgefield’s Holiday Stroll comes this weekend, Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7. It has become one of the biggest and wildest events of Ridgefield’s public year, now drawing great crowds to fill the sidewalks, stroll and shop, greet friends, eye merchandise, ride in the hired horse carriages and dine in village restaurants.

Don’t miss it.

New activities added this year include an ugly sweater contest and selfie scavenger hunt. There will again be the event’s now familiar ornaments — the strolling carolers, the ice sculptures, magic show, and of course, the horse carriages that have become symbols of the Holiday Stroll.

This year, don’t just go and enjoy the stroll. Make a point to return — the next day, the next week — and patronize the shops and stores, the businesses that make up downtown Ridgefield. In so many ways they make Ridgefield the place it is, not just another affluent Connecticut suburb, but a town with sidewalks and storefronts — with a village — and with a heart, a feeling of place, a feeling that this is somewhere special.

Main Street with its lights looks as good as ever, but these are tough times for many small retailers. The draw of online shopping has been eating away at their fiscal margin, eroding the economic base of Ridgefield and towns like it all over Connecticut, New England, the nation.

The folks who own and work in these stores are the friendly faces that remember your name, pay for the T-shirts your kids’ soccer and baseball teams wear, and shore up the town’s nonresidential tax base.

This season of bells and songs — the holidays with all its shopping and spending — is often what makes or breaks their economic year.

Don’t let them down. It’s December and you’re once again going to be laying out some salary — there are all those gifts to be found and bought, all those loved faces to light up with smiles.

Enjoy it. Do it sensibly. And do it in town.