The lines of traffic continue to snake around the entrances leading to the parking roofs at the local malls. I know this from listening to the woes of friends whose kids drag them there, tiredly clutching wads of discount coupons, and searching for bargains. In stark contrast are super-savvy shoppers who now compare prices at the sites of on-line merchants, hit the button, and have gifts delivered right to the doorstep. Both groups approach the spirit of the holiday season somewhat differently; I sympathize with those e-shoppers who strive to keep stress to a minimum by avoiding the crowds swarming up and down tight aisles; the inevitable arguments over parking space rights, as well as the shortage of knowledgeable staff at the counters. On occasion, I experience some nostalgia for the old times, as I have completely abandoned gift-giving at Christmas; my preference is a little splurge at birthdays or high-school graduations of my many nieces and nephews, and for myself, large glass vases of paper-whites. Some shoppers will hit the stores on Boxing Day with the intent of purchasing for the following year, a practice that reveals steely optimism which I admire; both patience to brave the cold queued outside the Hallmark store(s) where cards are half-price, as well as in the belief that next Christmas we will all be there (or here again).
Please enjoy tonight's visual treat, and have a wonderful weekend...