Pandemic spurs changes to Bag Day

  • Shoppers are reflected in a mirror at Ted’s Boot Shop on “Bag Day” in Northampton in 2019. Gazette file photo

Staff Writer
Published: 11/9/2020 9:26:42 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Bag Day, a tradition in the Paradise City for more than 20 years, is getting a new name this year and will last four times as long.

Bag Day, in which participating businesses traditionally gave a 20% discount off a single item to shoppers with a bag provided by the Daily Hampshire Gazette, is now Yule Days.

“We just wanted something that sounded festive,” said Amy Cahillane, executive director of the Downtown Northampton Association.

Other changes to the popular event this year include extending the sale over four days instead of a single day, and dropping the requirement to have a bag to get the discount.

The change to the format is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cahillane said.

“Obviously, everything changed downtown in terms of events,” said Cahillane.

Cahillane said that the crowds that accompany Bag Day were a concern for the Board of Health, the DNA and some business owners. As a result, the DNA collaborated with the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Special Sections department to make the changes this year.

Stephanie Hadley, who heads DHG Special Sections, said that the DNA came up with the name Yule Days, and her department designed the materials around it.

“I think it was a great collaboration,” said Hadley.

Yule Days will take place from Nov. 19-22. While Bag Day normally requires a participant to have a bag, Yule Days will not require customers to bring a bag to take advantage of the discounts being offered by participating businesses.

“Each store is doing some iteration of a 20% discount,” Cahillane said.

Hadley said that the goal of Yule Days is to promote businesses in downtown Northampton, and all participating businesses are in the Paradise City.

Cahillane said there is nothing to stop someone from taking advantage of all the discounts and noted that “we would love the problem of somebody shopping all four days at one store.”

A full list of the discounts on offer will be available in an insert in the Nov. 18 issue of the Gazette, and participating businesses will be posted on the DNA’s Facebook page and website this week.

As for whether the change over to Yule Days will be permanent, Hadley said time would tell, but she would like to see Bag Day return.

“We’ll see what this next year brings,” Hadley said.

Cahillane said that if there was ever a year to shop local, this would be it.

“Shop early, shop often,” she said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at

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