Get a jump on holiday shopping with special events and Black Friday festivities
The Friday after Thanksgiving has marked the unofficial start to the Christmas holiday shopping season since the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, when Santa arrived on the scene and streets soon bustled with busy shoppers.
Before that time, most Christmas parades were put on by department stores, which used the event as an opportunity to advertise holiday shopping. The actual term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s, reflecting the idea of stores booming with business and moving from the red into the black.
Across the country, stores open at insanely early hours on Black Friday, often to long lines of shoppers already waiting at their doors. But who really wants to wake at 4 a.m. after a night of feasting and family festivities? Here in the desert, shopkeepers open at their usual hour — allowing you time to savor your holiday experience — but that doesn’t mean the spirit of the season is any less in the air on this magical shopping holiday.
On El Paseo, which transforms into a winter wonderland in late November, enjoy fabulous in-store events and extended shopping hours during the citywide First Weekends event Nov. 30 to Dec. 1. On Black Friday, look for special sales at Chico’s, Escada, and Optical Shop of Aspen, and other fine stores. From couture to contemporary clothing collections, fine jewelry, and designer home wares, this destination has something for everyone on your holiday list. The Shops on El Paseo, El Paseo between Hwy. 74 and Sage Lane, Palm Desert. theshopsonelpaseo.com. The Gardens on El Paseo, between Larkspur Lane and San Pablo Avenue, Palm Desert. www.thegardensonelpaseo.com
Other shopping districts throughout the Coachella Valley boast a variety of presents for your special someone, too. In Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District, find fun, funky items for art and design lovers, from shops such as Trina Turk, Shag: The Store, Raymond | Lawrence, and more. Purchase artistic cards, specialty books, and other stocking-stuffers at Just Fabulous. North Palm Canyon Dr. between East Tachevah Drive and East Alejo Road, Palm Springs. palmspringsuptowndesigndistrict.com
The shops at Old Town La Quinta cater to those who like the finer things in life. Find top designers like Diane von Furstenberg, Rag & Bone, and James Perse at Elizabeth & Prince boutique. Gracie’s Emporium carries decorative accents for the body and home, from jewelry and bath products to candles and gardening supplies; you can also find a small gift for Fido here. Food and wine connoisseurs will delight in a present from La Quinta Olive Oil Company or The Wine Bar at Old Town, boasting a large array of varietals from around the globe. Old Town La Quinta, 78100 Main St., La Quinta. www.oldtownlaquinta.com
In nearby Cabazon, visit Desert Hills Premium Outlets, one of the best outlet malls in the country. Shop designer brands at friendlier prices. From Brooks Brothers, J.Crew, and Ralph Lauren for clothing to Movado and Tourneau jewelry to electronics and gadget kiosks, this center is a Black Friday shopper’s haven. Check out the Cabazon Outlets for sportswear brands such as Oakley, Merrell, and Columbia Sportswear.
The holidays will be here before you know it. ’Tis the season to pull out those “naughty” and “nice” lists, and start shopping. Desert Hills Premium Outlets, 48400 Seminole Dr., Cabazon. www.premiumoutlets.com/deserthills. Cabazon Outlets, 48750 Seminole Dr., Cabazon. www.cabazonoutlets.com
Downtown Palm Springs hosts a weekly Open-Air Market from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturdays, where an array of vendors showcase and sell their merchandise. Find apparel and accessories, art, jewelry, midcentury modern furnishings and home fixtures, and textiles, as well as health and beauty items, fresh flowers, and farm-fresh foods. Free admission and parking available. Between North Indian Canyon Drive and Calle Encilia adjacent to the Spa Resort Casino, Palm Springs. www.palmspringsopenairmarket.com