Cyber Monday may not yet have the cache of Black Friday or the buzz of Small Business Saturday, but it's a retail phenomenon nonetheless.
Cyber Monday—the biggest retail day for shopping online during the holiday season—takes place on the first Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday (that's today!). Last year, consumers spent an estimated $13.55 billion on e-commerce starting on Nov. 29, 2010 and continuing through Christmas Eve, according to ComScore.com.
Online shoppers may enjoy the convenience of shopping from the comfort of home, avoiding long lines, parking hassles, wrapping gifts and trudging to the post office to mail presents.
In fact, though it's not an official holiday, Cyber Monday appears to be a day that is growing in popularity year after year. According to ComScore.com figures, Cyber Monday shoppers spent $887 million in 2009 and more than $1 billion a year later—a 16 percent increase—with each buyer making 1.86 transactions in 2009 and 1.90 transactions last year.
Local residents are getting in on the action. Maplewood's Colleen D'Alessandro tells Patch she does between 50 to 60 percent of her holiday shopping online.
And local shops and business people are not getting left behind — even while big box shops like Walmart and online retailers like Zappos offer specials. This year, Michele Bessey, the savvy owner of in Maplewood Village, is offering free shipping and 15 percent off on Cyber Monday. (You can shop Perch Home online here.)
Busy shoppers who don't even have time to troll the web to find the perfect gift can simply fill out a form on the website and owner Hanh Truong and her staff will email suggestions, then wrap and ship gifts for you.
Nancy McKiernan, a consultant for The Pampered Chef who provides in-home parties and demonstrations in Maplewood and nearby towns, sent an email to her mailing list offering "Free Shipping on Your Pampered Chef Orders — Cyber Monday Only!" Visit Nancy's site here.)
Restaurants are more and more offering online opportunities as well. You can make your reservations online at — but you still have to call to purchase a gift card! (The number is 973-378-8990.)
And once your hand cramps up from all that cyber shopping, head out for a stroll in one of Maplewood's shopping districts. Sometimes, the actual can beat the virtual by a mile.