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HDA Claire Kemp Countdown to Christmas

Hamilton Downtown Association Executive Director Claire Kemp celebrates small business opportunities and community connections in December.

The Hamilton Downtown Association is doing an event each Friday night and a business “Countdown to Christmas” promotion every day this December, with sales, prize drawings, and a grand prize drawing of a local entertainment package that last’s all year long.

“The holidays are the small businesses' time to shine, and we give everyone plenty of chances to enjoy the fun,” said Claire Kemp, executive director of the HDA.

Merry Grinch-mas! launches the Hamilton festivities from 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 1. The Grinch will make his annual appearance downtown to help community members’ grow their heart three sizes this holiday season by doing good deeds. The Grinch can be found at 6 p.m. at Chapter One Book Store and 7 p.m. at Main Street Toys for the reading of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

The Countdown to Christmas is similar to an advent calendar, where customers step into the participating stores on their given day and receive sales, specials, and the opportunity to enter a drawing to win a prize in that store. Each store will draw a winner at the end of their day and the entries will be added to a grand prize drawing.

The Countdown to Christmas begins on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Art Focus, Bitterroot Drug, and Mains Street Toys. On Dec. 4, visit the Yarn Center. Dec. 6 is the River Rising and Big Sky Candy day, and Dec. 7 will be special at Ad.mire-V Salon, Biz to Biz, and the Hamilton Downtown Association (upstairs at 217 Main St.).

On Dec. 8, visit Hamilton Gifts and Robbin’s Too ,while enjoying the Follow the Sheep Trail event, from 5 to 8 p.m. The children help the shepherd find his sheep that have escaped. Hand-knit fuzzy sheep are hidden throughout the downtown stores. The goal is to find them all and enter a completed form for the chance to win one.

The Culture Crawl and Hamilton Tonight is also on Dec. 8.

For the Countdown to Christmas on Dec. 9, visit The Paper Clip; on Dec. 22 visit Exit Realty; on Dec. 12 visit Robbin’s on Main; Dec. 13 visit Rosewood Wellness Center, Mikesell’s Jewelry, and Elevate; and on Dec. 14 visit Chapter One Book Store.

The HDA is hosting the Celebration of Light from 5 to 8 p.m., on Dec. 15 to celebrate the winter solstice. Visit the table of candles to make a wish or a prayer for loved ones and for the coming year. Stores will be open late for holiday shopping and there is a "Light you Ride" bike ride. See the Hamilton Downtown Association Facebook for more information.

The Countdown to Christmas continues on Dec. 16 at Bitter Root Brewery and Jerry Wessel’s Les Schwab. On Dec. 20, check out Cliff’s Corral and Moose Creek Barbecue. On Dec. 21, visit the Wine Cave, and on Dec. 22 visit Ford’s.

The Countdown to Christmas final countdown is from 5 to 8 p.m., on Dec. 22. Customers can enjoy late-night shopping to get last-minute gifts. The HDA will collect all of the names and entries at the businesses participating in the Countdown to Christmas raffles. These will be entered in to the grand prize drawing at 6 p.m. at Mikesell's. The grand prize is an entertainment package (two tickets to various local productions and events throughout the year).

Visit The Closet on Dec. 23 and Big Creek Coffee on Dec. 24 to complete the “Countdown to Christmas” Hamilton Downtown Association experience.

“Christmas in Hamilton is magical and we hope everyone thinks local first for their holiday shopping this year,” Kemp said. “Hamilton Downtown Association’s goal is to bring community together and these activities provide a great opportunity.”