Hi neighbors. We all made it through Thanksgiving and hopefully all that turkey is long gone. I was glad that this year most of the stores waited till Thanksgiving week at least to start playing Christmas music and putting up trees.
Are you a "Black Friday" shopper? You know, the day after Thanksgiving when stores traditionally mark down prices on lots of their inventory.
I know several people who can't wait to "shop till they drop" on Black Friday. I usually stay home for two reasons. One, being I hate crowded stores and the other being turkey overload.
Many stores are offering Black Friday prices every day this year. Some were having a Black Friday week the entire Thanksgiving week. Apparently they thought this would give them the jump on selling to people who didn't want to wait till Friday to get the bargains.
What most of us seem to forget is that we can shop for Christmas gifts the other ten months instead of just running around like crazy in November and December.
Wouldn't it be more fun to shop in August when you don't have to skid on ice to get to the store?
After saying that though, I have to admit that I'm a last minute shopper as well. Although I always INTEND to shop early -- does that count?
On the news this week I heard that more people were shopping online this year. I really don't like shopping online for anything but music or books. I feel you don't really know what your getting if you can't touch it before you buy it.
Shopping online is still a scary concept for me anyway. No matter how "safe" the website says it is, if you have spyware on your computer one simple transaction online can wipe out your bank account or credit card. Maybe a system like "PayPal" would fix that problem.
Besides, there are lots of places to shop here in town. Don't forget to patronize local merchants when you're shopping. If it costs a dollar more to support your local stores, don't hold back.
As long as you are thinking about buying practical gifts this year, why not do the most practical thing and buy American made products from local merchants?
Isn't it more practical to aid the American economy and save American jobs, than to help the economies of foreign countries at our sacrifice?
Who says you have to buy all of your Christmas gifts anyway? You can make some gifts that cost very little for supplies, but take some time and effort to create.
Homemade toys, dolls, coloring books or picture books for children; wooden signs with the family name, knitted house shoes, scarves and hats, cookies and candy are always good gifts.
I write a reading skills appropriate story for my grandchild some years. She likes to draw, so I leave half of each page blank to give her room to illustrate the book with her own drawings. You could write a story about something that happened in your child's youth. Grandchildren always like getting the lowdown on how their parents acted as children.
Another alternative to buying or making gifts, is offering your time as a gift.
If you have someone on your list who is a mother or caregiver, offer them part of a day off as a Christmas gift so they can get their shopping done as well.
Is someone on your list a researcher or genealogist? Offer to spend a couple of hours with them at the library or at the Bushwhacker Museum. Sharing their adventure would make a wonderful gift.
Although the Bushwhacker Museum has not officially expanded their season, they are open when any of the volunteers are there. Just call ahead or look for the OPEN sign when passing by.
You can purchase a tour ticket and give a tour of the museum as a gift.
There are lots of books to buy at the Bushwhacker Museum as well. You say no one in your family has an interest in history?
If any one in your family has lived in Vernon County for any length of time -- or are new to Vernon County -- they will enjoy a copy of the two volume set "Nevada and Vernon County's Heritage 1855 -- 2005 'Pass It On'."
Believe me they will find several stories in that book set about real people they see every day. For more gift ideas check out their Web site at www.bushwhacker.org.
Until the next time friends, remember Christmas isn't all rushing around looking for bargains or trying to find just the right gift for each person. Christmas is about the love of family and tradition.