THE CONSUMER: 28 Days Later

February is chock-full of reasons to shop

Anne Kellogg

For a short month, February sure is filled with quite a few special days. But only Valentine's Day includes a gift expectation. Observation of this month's other holidays is purely optional.

The month starts off every February 2 when a groundhog is awakened from its hibernation and harassed by thousands of people in Gobbler's Nob, Pennsylvania. Groundhog Day also is noteworthy because it is the day etiquette interpreters use as the final deadline to take down holiday lights and decorations. Keeping the lights up past then is considered to be an affront to the neighborhood, so they say.

Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. Carnivale. Catholics throughout the world have many names for the final hours of indulgence before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. This year, the day to party is February 8.

As luck would have it, both Ash Wednesday and the first day of the Chinese new year fall on February 9—an interesting cultural collision, to be sure. This year is 4703, the Year of the Rooster.

Like the Western new year, the Chinese one is when the past is put to rest and the future blessed with best wishes. Friends gather to make merry with alcohol, feasts, fireworks and firecrackers. Many stores in Chinatown carry the traditional gear.

Then of course, there's Valentine's Day on February 14, a day set aside for the romantically involved to exchange gifts, words and gestures of love and kindness.

To those so inclined, remember that you'll find exotic truffles at Vosges Haute Chocolate, erotic lingerie at Love Jones, and beautiful roses on most street corners. If it's a heartfelt card you're after, your own written words are better than the pre-printed kind.

Also keep in mind that Valentine's Day is the second busiest restaurant day of the year. No. 1? Mother's Day.

We collectively celebrate the births of all of our presidents with a three-day weekend created by President's Day on the 21st. This event is a result of the February birthdays of George Washington (February 22, 1732) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809).

Look for significant savings during the long weekend. Retailers generally try to get rid of merchandise that weekend to make way for spring's regularly priced things.

Flag Day on February 24 is tied in with the whole president-patriotism thing, but it's a little more intense for those who celebrate this symbol of our freedom. Hahn Surplus has loads of flags—plus any survival supplies you'd need for an approaching apocalypse.

Anne Kellogg is a native Las Vegan with a thing for purchasing stuff. E-mail her at
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