Since Black Friday signals the official start of the holiday shopping season, it’s time to make your list, check it twice and head to the beach. The downtown districts are full of independent boutiques, the outlets are brimming with popular brands, and there is a bevy of events catering to holiday shoppers.
The activity starts on Friday, Nov. 24 with the Southeastern Delaware Artists Tour, during which you can pick up one-of-a-kind gifts. The self-guided event, which is also on Saturday, runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Sponsors include Gallery One, the Ellen Rice Gallery and Ocean Vayu, all in Ocean View. The galleries and some retailers will have open houses.
The 2017 Sip and Shop, organized by the Dewey Artist Collaboration, is also on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24-25. The event, held at The Starboard, features local goods, as well as live music and beers from area breweries.
Many merchants will offer Black Friday specials. Crust & Craft, for instance, is offering a free $50 gift card to anyone who buys a $100 gift card and a free $25 gift card if you buy a $50 card.
The Buttery in Lewes is running a similar gift card promotion from Black Friday through Dec. 1. Depending on the dollar amount, you will get a certain number of free brunches.
In downtown Rehoboth, The Lilypad Children’s Boutique in Rehoboth is offering 30 percent off on the store’s merchandise on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, a promotion organized by American Express to support local businesses. For a list of participating stores, visit the dedicated website.
In Rehoboth Beach, the Rehoboth Beach Farmers Market will hold a special holiday event in Grove Park on Saturday, Nov. 25, from noon to 3 p.m. You’ll find gifts and holiday décor as well as food.
Take a break from shopping to visit with Santa Claus, who will open his cottage for business on the Rehoboth Boardwalk on Friday, Nov. 24, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the Rehoboth Beach Tree Lighting festivities. There’s no charge to see Santa, but donations are accepted. (Santa is taking a break from 7 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. to feed the reindeer.)
Once the kids have told Santa what they want under the tree, you can take a stroll down Rehoboth Avenue to start shopping. Many merchants get into the spirit with sales during the event. Plan your visit to coincide with the holiday sing-along at 6:30 p.m. at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand and the tree lighting at 7 p.m.
Beginning Nov. 25, Santa is also starting a starring role at Tanger Outlets along Route 1. His workshop will be located next to OshKosh B’gosh at the Seaside location, and the hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays through Dec. 16. Parents should bring their own camera, and they can post pictures on Tanger Rehoboth’s Facebook page for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate.
In the evening, head to the Dewey Beach Holiday Tree Lighting event, which starts at 6 p.m. at Fifer Orchards’ market on Route 1. The busy Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand for the caroling.
And mark your calendar now for Lewes Merchants’ Hospitality Night on Thursday, Nov. 30, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The downtown event, sponsored by the Lewes Chamber of Commerce and the Zwaanendael Museum, is a local tradition.
Santa will be on hand, and merchants will serve up complimentary refreshments and deals. Mandie’s Magical Marketplace, for instance, is offering from $25 to $75 in free gift certificates if you buy a gift card valued at from $100 to $300.