Basking Ridge's downtown and shopping centers most certainly won't be as crowded as malls or "big box" stores on Black Friday. But for those who want to skip the stress, there are places to shop in the township and nearby communities such as Bernardsville.
Some of the shops even are offering discounts before the holiday, or in conjunction with the upcoming Small Business Saturday promotion being offered nationwide for American Express customers.
Apogee, at 52 S. Finley Ave. in downtown Basking Ridge, is offering a pre-holiday sale through Nov. 26, and also is part of the Small Business promotion, said Sara Faber, a shop employee.
Faber said Apogee not only draws local shoppers, but also those who are looking for certain brands — such as Brighton jewelry — in an environment where they can receive personalized service.
The shop sells jewelry, clothing, shoes, hostess gifts, housewares and — at this time of year, holiday decorations, she said. "We have a little bit of something for everyone," she said. Although mostly womens' articles, the shop also has an area set aside for mens' ties and belts.
As she sees it, Faber said the advantages of shopping locally include personal service, free gift wrapping — and supporting a business that pays local taxes. The shop offers gift cards, she said.
Across the street, at 25 S. Finley Ave., the Gallery of Bliss will be offering 10 percent off for Small Business Saturday.
The shop, which sells jewelry, handbags, watches, scarves and other womens' accessories, will be open its regular hours from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Black Friday.
Although Basking Ridge, Bernardsville and nearby Somerset Hills community lack in department stores, the specialty shops offer gift options for those willing to look for something a little different.
Bottles of wines or spirits not only make good hostess gifts, a favorite bottle can also serve as a holiday gifts, said those who work at Ridge Fine Wines in the Dewey Meadow Shopping Center and The Wine Rack in The Hills.
People tend to "buy up" to a more expensive wine than usual when they are selecting a wine as a holiday gift, said Mike DiFabrizio, owner of The Wine Rack.
For those who are willing to look beyond a gift that can be placed in a box, there are a number of local businesses offering sometimes overlooked-options.
For example, Wabba Travel, at 66 S. Finley Ave., is marketing trips as a gift that will last beyond the holidays.
And with three Dunkin Donuts in town — and a number of Starbucks in the area — gift cards for college students who would appreciate a nice cup of coffee or even a meal make a nice gift to bring back to campus after the holidays.
A list of businesses in the Basking Ridge area can be viewed on the website for the Bernards Township Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The Bernardsville Chamber of Commerce also lists information and updated news on its member businesses.