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Meredith Leigh Knight Columnist

Published Friday, December 28, 2012

Shopping Downtown

Well, we did it. After two months of putting it all together and 10 minutes of pulling it all apart, we had a successful Christmas.

I know this because about mid-day on Dec. 25, my son loudly proclaimed (as he does every year), “This was the best Christmas ever!”

To which, I breathed a sigh of relief. If the kids are happy, I’m happy. And to top it all off, my husband and I managed to not let the stress of the holiday get to us – for the most part. I will admit to asking him if he could please “tone it down” as he sang Jingle Bells at the top of his lungs on Christmas Eve – a cappella, I might add.

But, other than that, we held together fairly well, though we had two very different shopping experiences. On his outing, he took the children. I had planned to do some shopping myself, so I made sure to tell them to act like they don’t know me if they see me – in jest, of course (sort of).

He went east. I went downtown.

He fought maddening crowds. I casually strolled the court square admiring the Christmas decorations.

He had to deal with sales people asking for his email address, so they could bombard his inbox with ads. I chatted with the store clerks about how Boomer was doing and filled them in on my daughter’s recent marriage.

He had to stand in a long line to order food for the kids. I didn’t need any lunch because each of the stores offered free samples and my fill of hot chocolate and apple cider.

He had to carry his items home in bags. I did, too, except they were gift bags. Each of the stores offered to gift wrap my items, and I took them up on it.

He had trouble finding things he was looking for. I merely asked the clerks, and they either had the item, gave me suggestions where I could find the item or pretty much gave me the feeling that if they had the item at home, they’d gladly run home to get it.

My husband had trouble finding parking. I found a place right on the square and was able to walk from there.

He worried about store closing times. I had owners stay open late just for me, and I appreciate that.

It’s wonderful to live and grow up in a friendly town. If you haven’t made your way there yet, please make it your New Year’s resolution to do so. Even if it’s your first visit, you won’t leave feeling like a stranger.

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