When did holiday shopping become a contact sport? There is an entire class of websites dedicated to Black Friday deals. If I’m to believe what I see in the media, people map out chain-store floor plans weeks in advance. And before the Thanksgiving gravy has congealed, they motor from doorbusters to blockbusters in a wild rush to knock another four dollars off the price of a no-name TV.
If that’s how you define the holiday spirit, go ahead. Join the crowd. Buy the Chinese knockoffs. Enjoy the stress.
I’m trying to make my holiday season about appreciation.
All my shopping will take place within a radius of a couple miles – at the local merchants who do so much to make the Heights all the things it is: unique, comfortable, walkable and, at this time of year, a little Rockwellesque.
I appreciate small stores where the clerks are plentiful and happy to pay attention to my needs. I appreciate shops that carry merchandise you’ll never find in chain stores. Rather than being overwhelmed by an airdrop of stuff in a space the size of a hangar, I appreciate a thoughtful selection of items aesthetically presented in a small space.
I appreciate the artisans from here and around the world who help fill our independent stores with creative, handmade items – some of use, some of beauty, some of both – at prices that are often surprisingly low.
I appreciate the friends and neighbors who invest their lives in creating shops specifically to serve the needs of people who live in the Heights, and I take special pleasure in the act of spending my hard-earned money with them.
As I shop for the many people in my life who are fortunate to have all that they really need, I appreciate the chance to buy gifts that have layers of meaning: style, utility, individuality, humanity and locality.
I appreciate that all of this will probably cost less than agonizing over the size and color of sameness at the “lifestyle center.”
It’s increasingly rare to find a community where you can celebrate a hyperlocal holiday season. I appreciate that I happen to live in one of them. Feel free to join me.