We Are Both Right

Ghost of Christmas Presents – Mall Holiday Shopping

When my now-husband T. and I were dating, we spent an inordinate amount of our time at shopping malls. We would eat, we would wander — sometimes we would even shop (and, I must add shamefully, spend money without a worry nor care nor child).

These days I try to avoid the mall as much as possible — with three kids it has become less of a fun hangout spot where I might pick up a cute sweater and more of a “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”  were I might lose my marbles.

© RobinUtrac/stock.xchng

© RobinUtrac/stock.xchng

Still, for me, when it comes to picking out Christmas gifts for my loved ones, it’s at the mall or other brick-and-mortar stores where you’ll find me. I know lots of holiday shopping can be done online, but for all my lack of enthusiasm about trying to find a parking spot and the lines and the pushing, I much prefer physically heading out of the house to do my purchasing than sitting in front of my computer to do it.

I think its the idea of holiday shopping at a store that I like so much. The romantic notion of a day spent in and out of stores, dedicating quality time to choosing gifts I know my family and friends will love. (Why yes, I am humming Christmas carols while I type this.)

I like being part of a crowd, especially as it gets closer to Christmas. (When I was in high school and college, my friends and I would purposefully go shopping on Christmas Eve, even if we didn’t have anything to buy just to soak up the atmosphere).  I like the festive decorations and music. I like watching the kids take pictures with Santa Claus. And even though some  of my fellow gatherers are cranky and annoying, there’s a definite undercurrent at the store that you don’t feel when you are clicking the mouse — a building excitement that we are all sharing in together.

Plus, I like being able to pick something up and feeling it in my hands. I like wandering around with lots of different bags from lots of different stores and bustling through the throngs as I figure out what I need to get next. I like rifling through my coupons, trying to figure out where I will get the best buy. And when I’m undecided on a gift, for me, nothing beats browsing (obviously that’s one I do without the children). The best part is when I get home and I sort through the parcels, happily reviewing my conquests.

Now don’t get me wrong, I agree, online shopping is way more convenient. And if you can get free shipping (and I only shop online when I get free shipping), it can be less expensive than driving yourself to the local Target or Kohl’s. But it isn’t the same.

Not when Santa is handing out candy canes.

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