I always like to take a couple of days off before Christmas so I can do some last minute shopping for little things. It isn’t like we need anymore stuff and my wife is something of a minimalist but we have stockings and, for some reason, we end up buying a bunch of useless stuff for them. I think a lot of it ends up in a drawer and gets tossed the next year but it is part of the season. Besides, sometimes it is fun to buy something completely off the wall just to get a reaction.
So I’m out in the dollar stores – well one seemed to be $5 and below since I guess a dollar doesn’t buy you as much as it used to. These places are the basement of the retail world and yet they are full of stuff. I always wonder how stuff ends up there. Are these places like the island of misfit toys? The place were stuff nobody wanted in the other stores ends up. Actually, it is also like a last chance rodeo for this stuff. Don’t sell here and bad things happen. Do they end up in some landfill or in a giant incinerator like Toy Story 3. Fortunately, I didn’t get any vibes from the stuff asking to be rescued – maybe they’ve all just given up somehow.
Then, I hit one of the more upscale malls in our little area. There were more people out than I expected. I hate crowds and I hate traffic and I hate that most malls seem to set their internal temperature at 90. Still, I like seeing all the lights and decorations. I’m just a sucker for Christmas I guess. The problem is that they start pushing Christmas so early that by the time you actually get close to Christmas, everything looks kind of beaten up and a little sad. Many of the stores were already selling their Christmas stuff at big discounts so they could clear it out and make room for whatever other stuff will follow. Actually saw one place that had some Valentine’s stuff out already. Really never thought anything would push Christmas off the top spot but this place really seemed to want to get on with it.
I guess malls are like dinosaurs with some of them just waiting for the comet to strike Earth and kill them all off. We all shop online now so we don’t have to leave the house and can just have stuff magically show up at our front door. Oh, and I’ve certainly used the river in Brazil website many times and it is very convenient when I have a specific thing in mind. I have more problems browsing on line though. I kind of like to actually see and touch certain things before I buy. Besides, sometimes it is fun to see all the displays of stuff that come out this time of year.
Look, I’m a committed introvert and I get the attraction of reducing actual contact with other humans. But I wonder if we are going to take this too far. Social media is often not very social and a conversation of text messages really isn’t a conversation. I know why it appeals. When you post something on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter (or here), nobody interrupts you so it is a platform to speak as long as you want on whatever you want. (Well, Twitter has a limit but you get the point). Heck, I’ve said that about this blog from time to time – that I love the opportunity to just ramble on without having someone interrupt me to start talking about themselves.
OK, that’s not entirely the same thing as online shopping. But it is true that you don’t have to deal with any salespeople. You can browse pages and pages without someone asking you if you are finding everything you need. When you are done, you just click a few things and you are checked out so there is no waiting in line behind someone who is slowing up the line by questioning every price. And, if the weather is bad, you don’t have to get all bundled up to face the cold and the traffic and the other idiots on the road.
So I do get that. I just wonder if it is really a good thing. Sometimes, it is the little connections you make that are the best. I could do mobile order for my caffeine fix but I’ve gotten to the point where I kind of enjoy briefly chatting with the baristas. I’m still no good at small talk but there is something about making these little connections with other people. Maybe we’ll find a way to eliminate all human contact but, for now, we are all part of the world and totally shutting yourself off doesn’t really seem like a positive. Or maybe I’m just getting older and not liking the way the world is changing. Guess that happens as well.
Also, if you shop online, you miss out on the fun Christmas music that is played everywhere. OK, that might be a selling point for lots of you but there are just certain songs that make me happy. I may have been singing along to All I Want for Christmas in one store. I can neither confirm nor deny that. It wasn’t the Mariah Carey version though but it is still a peppy and bouncy song. Sometimes, I can’t help myself. Might even have been doing a few partial dance moves when nobody was watching (or at least when I thought nobody was watching)
Since I’m on that topic, I’ll get off the Christmas stuff and just touch briefly on music and dance. There are two types of people in the world – those who sing along to music even if they aren’t talented and those who don’t. I wonder how much of a correlation there is between that and dancing. If you are singing along, does that allow you to “feel” the music and does that make you a better dancer? I don’t know. I just know there were two of us singing along at group class last night and we were two of the strongest dancers. That’s way too small of a sample size to mean anything but it was just a random thought of mine.
Speaking of dancing, we’ll end with the potential for two Christmas dances at each studio. For sure, I’ll be at the Famous Franchise tonight and it looks like I’ll also be at Studio B tomorrow. Both studios are doing an “ugly sweater” thing. Have no idea how that little tradition started but I have no interest in participating. I hate sweaters in general and dancing in something that adds heat just does nothing for me. But there will likely be Christmas music at both places. Might be overload but it sounds like fun.