I Miss Christmas Shopping


Of course, I still buy presents for people at Christmas. I love the act of giving gifts. Of picking out something that I know someone would love and seeing their face when they open it. It’s the best feeling.

The part I miss, however, is being immersed in the “shopping experience.”

Before I moved from California, I had a friend who shopped just like me. We’d start with a cup of coffee at Starbucks, then head out for the morning, while the kids were at school. We shopped at the same stores, we never paid full price for anything if we could help it, we used coupons whenever we could, and we had an intuition, if you will, about where we needed to go and what we wanted to buy.

Since my friend and I moved apart, I haven’t found a new “shopping friend.”

So much of our shopping is now done online. Amazon is your friend, especially around the holiday season. I suppose it’s a necessary evil. But there’s something special about buying tangible things, things you can hold in your hand and feel the quality of the fabric, the weight of the products, to know exactly what you’re getting BEFORE you spend your hard-earned money on the perfect gift.

I don’t drive, so getting around from store to store can be difficult, especially when they may be on the other side of town from each other. I could easily spend a few hours at the mall, but the mall doesn’t have everything the people on my list want. For that, I need to travel from store to store. I need my “shopping friend.”

And I like supporting local merchants. But living in the town I do, the “Mom and Pop” stores are few and far between. For example, the closest indie bookstore is seven miles away. That’s a TWO HOUR BUS RIDE one way for me. Talk about inconvenient. It’s only a 20 minute drive by car. Frustrating.

There’s a Target within walking distance, except there’s no crosswalk across a four-lane highway, so I can’t get there. Besides, you all know how I feel about Target right now.

I think I miss the social aspect of Christmas shopping the most. Sure, I could ride the bus and walk a few miles to get where I need to go, but I’d be doing it alone, and carrying all my loot. There’s nothing social or fun about that.

And it’s the same with shopping online. Sure, there are billions of products to choose from, but it’s just so…BORING. We live our lives online. I don’t want to spend hours shopping online too.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just showing my age.

What about you? Do you prefer Christmas shopping online or going out into the hustle and bustle of the season?


  1. Personally, I hate Christmas shopping because I’m so indecisive about what to get someone. But I do have fond memories of going out and buying little things for my siblings. Sadly, I’ve spent most of my adult life shopping online, so I don’t have any real memories of going out to stores. But I do remember my mom’s story of sending my dad to buy our toys one year. He was gone for 2 hours because he was playing with everything. My husband loves online shopping, so I’m kind of sad I won’t have any silly stories like that to tell our kids.

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      • My mom gave him explicit written instructions for finding everything she had selected, so he did come home with everything. But I guess a bunch of dads had been sent to do the actual buying, so there were grown men playing with toys for a few hours. It was funny, but my mom wasn’t happy, though she’ll laugh about it now.

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  2. Stores are designed to draw people in and to get us to interact with the merchandise until we want something. The Internet still cannot replicate that experience. So, I don’t think the brick and mortar stores will die. I just think they will focus more on their advantages.

    Sorry to hear about your transportation problems. We have the technology to set up an automated system with small, driverless vehicles on rails or such. Unfortunately, politicians still think mass transit, unionized drivers, don’t you know? Waste doesn’t seem to bother too many politicians.

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