Black Friday is that crazy day of the year when bargain hunters camp outside a store in hopes of getting their hands on a killer deal, such as that laptop or Blu-ray player that has been advertised as half off. For those that are not keen on the idea of setting up a tent and roasting marshmallows outside a Wal-Mart or Target store, there is always Cyber Monday, in which most online stores offer their merchandise at discounted prices.

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are widely ingrained into modern culture, there is another shopping day that is still mostly unknown. The day is known as Small Business Saturday and is a day created to promote local businesses.

Large retail chains like Wal-Mart are the real beneficiaries of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They have the finances, national reputation and an online presence to promote discount sales. Traditional mom-and-pop shops and individually owned stores simply do not have the resources to compete.

This is where Small Business Saturday enters the picture. It is a fairly new concept that was created in 2010 by American Express and encourages shoppers to shop at small retail stores the Saturday following Black Friday. It is a way to keep small businesses a part of the community as these stores don’t have a means of competing with large franchises.

For this year’s Small Business Saturday, American Express is giving away 40,000 gift cards each worth 25 dollars via Facebook. The promotion is to help spread awareness that small businesses matter and are an integral part of the economy.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday follows right after Thanksgiving, so shoppers should not forget that the time of the year is about giving. Shopping at small businesses is a way to give by keeping local shop owners a part of the community.