Thanksgiving week and the days after are full… of holiday happenings, festive food, likely some travel, shopping and family time.
Today, it’s all about giving. But first, let’s look back on the last couple days.
Thursday: Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving
The days after Thanksgiving have come to have certain monikers. Of course Thursday – Thanksgiving – is all about gratitude and coming together with family and friends if possible. Of course one of our luxury beach house rentals SC is an ideal place to do that.
Friday: in the Black
Friday, aka the day after Thanksgiving, has been known as “Black Friday” for several decades now. It was seen as the official start of the Christmas shopping season. The name came from the idea that merchants counted on this time to have their sales numbers enter the black, although the stress of it soon suggested other dark connotations. It became notorious for having super-early doorbusters that led to people greedily charging each other in Walmarts, etc. for cheap consumer goods – not exactly the Christmas spirit.
With the onset of online shopping, Black Friday has become much less of a big deal. Most people would prefer just staying in their pajamas and ordering online, skipping the traffic, crowds and hassle. Not only that, but it gets shipped straight to your house. After all, it’s no fun schlepping a surplus of purchases home, especially if you’ve done it while on vacation.
Saturday’s all about small business
In more recent years, the following day – the Saturday after Thanksgiving – has become known as “Small Business Saturday.” It’s an effort to encourage people to shop unique local merchants as opposed to giant national or global chains – thus keeping the economic impact in the community. This is similar to the local movement in the food /restaurant realm. Eating local is not only more interesting and unique, it’s also better for the environment.
After all, if you’re coming to visit, you might as well experience something that is unique to Charleston and the Lowcountry. There are slews of local businesses around here, and checking out the Charleston Farmers Market is a great place to pick up a great souvenir of your stay here.
Here’s an interesting fact – 90% of the businesses in the state of South Carolina are local. They are a HUGE part of what gives the area its particular personality and charm. So when you’re here, be sure to shop, eat or stay local whenever possible.
Monday is all about the internet
So yesterday – the Monday after Thanksgiving – is known as “Cyber Monday,” since most people have returned to work and start shopping on their computers in earnest. Sure enough, the emails rushed into my inbox touting all kinds of online sales and special deals. In fact, most now trumpet “Cyber Week,” so no doubt they’ll be streaming in all week long.
And now, today, is Giving Tuesday
So finally, that brings us to today – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This is perhaps the most recent of all the monikers. Nonprofits and people doing good have embraced it, as a chance to help people give back.
This is how the good folks at the Lowcountry Food Bank put it: Giving Tuesday is a global giving movement and the opening day of the giving season. Millions of people come together to support and champion causes they believe in and the communities in which they live. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are well known for getting great “deals.” Make Giving Tuesday a day for giving back!
Greg Laurie had this to say: I’m thinking today is going to be a good day. Why? Because it’s #GivingTuesday, and people all over the country and around the world will be giving toward charitable causes and organizations that they believe in. And any day that we are thinking more of others than of ourselves is a good day, right?
I’ve also had a slew of worthy causes emailing requests this morning for help. #GivingTuesday is the hashtag of the day.
Great options for Giving
If you’d like to help needy local families have a holiday meal this season, the Lowcountry Food Bank can bring that about, with your donation.
The wonderful people of World Vision will also match donations with one of 31 great gifts. They include chickens, goats, medicines, a goat and two chickens – simple gifts that can transform a needy person’s life.
Here’s a good tip. If you donate via PayPal, they’ll match donations dollar-for-dollar, up to a total of $500,000. After that amount, they’ll add 1% to all remaining donations. No deductions, no fees. Charities include Unicef, Save the Children, charity: water, and Feeding America.
Some other ideas: The Petco Foundation, which has helped 5.5 million homeless pets find loving homes. You can support it by giving online, or by purchasing certain items like calendars and photos with Santa in stores.
Birdlife is a huge, beautiful part of the Lowcountry. If you give today to Audubon soon, your gift will be matched by an anonymous donor.
So think about giving to a worthy cause today, or any day. And be sure to call us at Exclusive Properties when you need a beach getaway.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, whether you were here in Charleston or elsewhere.
Some of you may have taken part in the Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble, which I covered in that last blog. It took place yesterday morning downtown. The winner finished the race in under 15 minutes. Most other runners did it in under 40. Here’s more about it from Live 5 News.
Grateful to be here
This is a wonderful time to be in a Charleston beach house. Many of our homes are oceanfront or close to it. That means you are just steps from a pleasant stroll on the beach to walk of some of that turkey.
This is also a wonderful time of year when giving thanks is at the forefront. Gratitude is good for the body and soul and is known to reduce stress. I heard a wonderful talk a couple weeks ago by an authoritative speaker. She explained that the part of the brain that controls fear, also controls the expression or feeling of gratitude.
The interesting thing is, the two cannot coexist at the same time. So in other words, if you want to get rid of those fearful feelings that seem to bombard us via the news, just count your blessings. Reflect on the things for which you are grateful. Like health, family, friends, together times. A vacation with loved ones at the beach.
Black Friday after Thanksgiving Day
Well, today is officially Black Friday, when shoppers hit the stores en masse and often act like idiots.
Apparently the day has lost a lot of its luster and punch, as more and more people shop online. I mean, why not just stay in your PJs, crack open your laptop, and order that way, instead of fighting traffic and crowds?
Also, the sales start even sooner, long before the superfat Thanksgiving Day newspaper arrives. I was getting Black Friday sales alerts in my email last week, with early purchases possible. No longer is this day such a big deal, shopping-wise.
If you are interested in shopping, here’s an overview of the best deals out there for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s put together by the Asheville Citizen-Times. Many of the deals are online, so you can stay put in one of our beach house rentals Charleston SC and still make a dent in your Christmas list.
Healthy alternatives to Black Friday
If you’d like to do other things today instead of the purchase of material goods, there are several enticing options. Here’s a handy list to help give you some ideas.
Options include volunteering, donating to a worthy cause, walking around the city, writing letters to family and friends, or reading a good book.
After Black Friday… try Small Business Saturday
There’s a growing movement afoot to shop local on Saturday. It’s been officially dubbed, “Small Business Saturday.” The trend of all things LOCAL that’s so popular in restaurant circles (think: farm-to-table) has expanded to merchants as well.
So if you’re on the Isle of Palms this weekend, consider hitting the local stores on Saturday. The Charleston area has some truly great and unique local merchants.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger
This weekend marks a special holiday for folks in South Carolina… it’s a sales tax holiday, when a whole bunch of things are absolutely tax-free!
You have a chance to save some serious dough if you shop this weekend. This is especially true if you have school-age children. The tax-free holiday’s happening across the entire state.
It’s the 19th annual sales tax tax-free holiday, and it promises to be a busy one. Sources say back-to-school shopping and the tax-free weekend is the second best shopping weekend. (Not surprisingly, Black Friday is first).
This weekend is your chance to save a chunk of change on items you generally purchase this time of year.
Sales tax by the numbers… and how the savings really add up
You’ll save the state sales tax (which, in South Carolina, is 6%), as well as local taxes. Here in Charleston County, that’s an additional 3%. So by shopping this weekend, you can save a whopping 9%.
That really adds up, when you consider what the average family with school-age children spends annually on back-to-school supplies.
For those with kids ages K-12, the average is $685. For college-aged kids, it’s $942. The National Retail Federation estimates the total spent this year will be a cool $82.8 billion nationwide. That’s a whole lotta pencils and glue sticks!
The whole list of what qualifies and what doesn’t is HUGE, and I’ll include it below. Basically, in a nutshell, you won’t have to pay sales tax on the following items: school supplies, computers, printers, computer software, calculators, book bags, clothes (!), shoes, bedspreads and linens, bath mats, and shower curtains.
However, you will still have to pay tax on cosmetics, eyewear, furniture, jewelry, backpacks (for hiking/camping – but book bags are okay), mattresses, wallets and watches.
It’s a great time to shop!
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to prove you are a student or have one to get the discount. So this weekend is a great time to go shopping for computers, clothes and shoes, whatever your educational status and age. There are plenty of great shopping options near the Isle of Palms. Just head over the IOP Connector and hit Towne Centre in Mount Pleasant for some great options.
The holiday runs from this Friday, August 3rd through Sunday August 5th at midnight.
Read more on the story from the Post & Courier.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger
Exempt aka tax-free items (A-C) include:
- Adult diapers
- Aerobic clothing
- Antique clothing
- Athletic or sport uniforms or clothing (but not equipment such as mitts, helmets and pads)
- Baby bibs, clothes, shoes, diapers (cloth of disposable)
- Bath mats, rugs, towels (all sizes, including beach towels, great while staying in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals), washcloths
- Bathing caps, suits and trunks
- Beach capes and coats
- Bed comforters and bed comforter sets, duvets and covers, bed linens including baby bumper pads, canopies, baby crib padding, bed skirts, box spring covers, dust ruffles, mattress pads, mattress toppers, pillow covers, and shams, pillowcases, pillows (e.g. baby pillows, body pillows, husband pillows, throw pillows), bed sheets and bed sheet sets, bed spreads
- Belt buckles
- Blankets such as afghan, baby, electric and throw blankets
- Bobby pins
- Boots (climbing, hiking, riding, ski, waders, fishing, cowboy)
- Bow ties
- Bridal gowns and veils (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
- Capri pants
- Coats, capes and wraps
- Corsets and laces
- Costumes (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
Exemptions regarding computers:
- Computer hardware service contracts sold in conjunction with computers, computer software, computer software service contracts sold in conjunction with computer software, computer software service contracts when the true object of the contract is to obtain computer software updates during the contract period, computers Note: The following are examples of devices that are not considered computers for purposes of the sales tax holiday exemption: cell phones, smartphones or any other handheld devices that allow users to make telephone calls; handheld devices that are primarily used to download and listen to music; handheld devices that are primarily used to download and watch videos; and devices that are primarily used to download and read books (e-books). However, portable devices that have computing and media functions, allow users to access the Internet and have a multitude of software applications (or the capability to download a multitude of software applications) are considered computers for purposes of the sales tax holiday exemption, provided such devices do not allow users to make telephone calls.
Note: The sale of a computer monitor, keyboard, or scanner by itself would not be exempt during the sales tax holiday. If a monitor, keyboard or scanner is purchased as part of a package that included the computer processing unit, then that is one transaction to purchase a computer and the sale of the packaged unit (CPU, monitor, keyboard, scanner) is exempt. The sale of a digital music player, digital camera, cell phone or a smartphone, whether or not purchased in conjunction with a computer processing unit (CPU), is not exempt during the sales tax holiday.
Exempt, tax-free items (D-O):
- Daily planners or organizers when used by school children as a school supply
- Dress shields
- Elastic ponytail holders
- Fishing boots
- Formal clothing (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
- Garters/garter belts
- Gloves, including those for batting, bicycle, dress, garden, golf, ski, tennis
- Graduation caps and gowns (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
- Gym suits
- Hair bows and clips
- Hand muffs
- Hunting vests
- Ice skates (rentals are taxable)
- In-line skates (rentals are taxable)
- Jogging suits
- Leg warmers
- Leotards and tights
Exempt, tax-free items (P-R):
- Personal Digital Assistants or PDAs (PDAs are hand-held computers used as daily planners. Please note that the exemption does not apply to cell phones with a PDA, computer applications or similar components.)
- Pillow cases
- Pillows (all types)
- Printer supplies. Note: replaceable ink cartridges used in printers are exempt from tax as “printer supplies”
- Printers, but replacement parts are taxable
- Prom dress (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
- Riding pants
- Roller skates, provided the skates are permanently attached to the boots.
Exempt, tax-free items (S-Z):
- School supplies, including, but not limited to, pens, pencils, paper, binders, notebooks, books, blue books, bookbags, lunchboxes, musical instruments (but only if the musical instrument is used in the classroom or at home in relation to school assignments). Note: Items such as refrigerators, toiletries, bicycles and food purchased by college students are not school supplies and not exempt from the tax.
- School uniforms
- Scout uniforms
- Shawls and wraps
- Shoes, including ballet, baseball, bicycle, boat, boots, bowling (taxed if rented), cleated, cross trainers, flip-flops, football, golf, jazz/dance, soccer, track, in-line skates, ice skates, running, etc.) (rentals are taxable)
- Shoulder pads for dresses, jackets, etc. (but not athletic or sport protective pads)
- Shower curtains and liners (shower curtain hooks and rings and shower curtain rods are taxable)
- Ski boots (snow) (rentals are taxable), ski masks, ski suits (snow)
- Skin diving suits
- Sport clothing and uniforms, but not equipment such as mitts, helmets, and pads.
- Sport jacket
- Support hosiery
- Sweat suits
- Towels of all types and sizes, including bath, beach, kitchen, and sport towels. Paper towels are taxable.
- Tuxedo (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
- Wet and dry suits
Nonexempt aka taxable items (A-K) include:
- Any clothing or footwear that is rented, any item (whether sold or leased) used in a trade or business, any item placed on layaway or similar deferred payment and delivery plan
- Backpacks for hiking and camping (bookbags for school are exempt)
- Bathroom accessories or supplies, including soap, shower curtain hooks and rings, shower curtain rods, toothbrush holders, towel holders, tissue box covers, toilet paper, wastebaskets.
- Box springs
- Cell phones
- Change purse
- Clocks, including alarm clocks and wall clocks
- Clothing that is rented
- Computer parts
- Costume rentals
- Daily planners or organizers when not used by school children as a school supply
- Digital cameras
- Digital music players
- Employee uniforms
- Footwear that is rented
- Formal clothing that is rented
- Gift wrapping paper
- Golf clubs
- Greeting cards
- Hardware, including hand tools, power tools, etc.
- Health food supplements
- Helmets, including sport, motorcycle, bicycle, etc.
- Hobby equipment, supplies and toys
- Key cases
Nonexempt items (M-Z):
- Mitts, including a baseball fielder’s mitt, hockey, etc. However, a batting glove is exempt.
- Music players
- Music tapes, records and compact discs
- Paper products that are not school supplies such as greeting cards and gift wrapping paper, etc.
- Paper towels
- Personal flotation devices
- Printer replacement parts
- Protective masks and goggles, including for athletics, sports or work
- Roller skates not permanently attached to the boot
- Safety clothing for use in a trade or business, safety glasses and goggles, safety shoes for use in a trade or business
- School office and janitorial supplies
- Sewing accessories
- Sheet stretchers
- Shin guards and padding
- Shoulder pads, including those for football and hockey
- Shower curtain hooks and rings
- Shower curtain rods
- Sleeping bags
- Sporting equipment, including baseball mitts, golf clubs, helmets, hockey mitts, life jackets and vests, masks, pads, swim fins, swimming masks and goggles
- Stereo equipment
- Table cloths
- Table placemats and other table supplies such as napkins and napkin holders
- Tissue box covers
- Toilet paper
- Toothbrush holders
- Towel holders
- Watch bands
- Window curtains
- Window treatments such as curtains, drapes, shades, valances