ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — As shoppers prepare for the holiday rush, local businesses are hoping they’ll seek local options for holiday gifts.

Local cities are joining in the effort to get people to shop locally this Small Business Saturday.

The City of Elizabethton is encouraging shoppers to head downtown to buy gifts from local shops and vendors this Saturday. To sweeten the sales a little more, they’re also including activities for the whole family.

Courtney Bean, Main Street Director for the City of Elizabethton, said shopping downtown is about more than just scoring the perfect gift on sale.

“It is all about the experience,” said Bean. “So right now we have Christmas music playing in the streets, a lot of our businesses are going to have complimentary refreshments.”

On Small Business Saturday local businesses will be offering discounted gifts and locally-made items.

“We’ll be having Howard’s products 20% off,” said Misty Counts, Duck Crossing Antique Mall Owner. “We have a local artist who paints the covered bridge at Christmas and she’ll have cards and ornaments and little magnets and stickers and all kinds of things that will be great little stocking stuffers. “

Not only can you check off your Christmas list, said it makes a huge difference for business owners.

“It helps the families behind our small businesses, it helps our downtown grow and it helps our community as a whole,” said Bean. “So when you shop local, the majority of those tax dollars stay here locally in our community, which then go back to our roads and our schools and improving our community.”

Beyond in-store deals, Northeast Community Credit Union will be providing free shopping tote bags in the breezeway next to Sweetsie Treatz, August Muse will host a Holiday Market featuring local artisans and crafters, and the Elizabethton Chamber will host a pop-up shop with local vendors from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Saturday.

There will also be activities for the whole family to enjoy. Skate by the Doe begins Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at Covered Bridge Park. Reservations can be made online at skatebythedoe.com.

Then at 5:00 p.m. families are invited to bundle up and enjoy a free outdoor screening of “Elf” at Edward’s Island Park. Free spaghetti for kids will be provided along with sweet elf fixings. Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Buddy the Elf will all make special appearances. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets for the movie.

The 13th Annual Small Business Saturday in Downtown Elizabethton is Saturday, November 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

For a complete list of events and activities, visit mainstreetelizabethton.com.