Musings on shopping

Published: Three Rivers Commercial-News

Saturday, December 24, 2011 8:09 AM EST

I am not a fan of shopping unless it is for me. If I am shopping for anyone other than myself, I prefer to do so with a detailed list in my hand. I hate making decisions when they involve someone else. Finding an item I think that the person I am buying for will like can cause a certain level of discomfort for me.

I put the item in my cart and walk around the store for a while. Wondering. Pondering. Thinking.

Will they like it? Is it the right size? Is this really what they wanted? All of these questions swarm my mind. I like people to be happy, so little things like that really stick in my mind. Even with a gift receipt, I still worry about what will happen once they open their gift.

Having a wife takes most of that stress off of my shoulders. Heather is a great shopper. She can walk into a store, find the gifts, check out, drive home and have them wrapped in the same amount of time that it would take me to just make a decision on a single gift. I just can’t do it.

Of course, when it comes to shopping for my wife, I usually find myself in a little bit of trouble. Even though we have known each other for 20 years and married for eight, I still prefer to have her give me some idea as to what she wants. But being a woman, and you all know what I mean when I say this, she would rather see what I come up with rather than tell me what to buy! Now that is stress!

Of course, the real joy at Christmas for me is easy. Giving to others and watching my children enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.

As a family, we make it a point to give to Toys for Tots and the Angel Tree, and to donate stuffed animals to the Kalamazoo Wings Teddy Bear Toss night. Our children know that while Christmas is not just about the presents, it is still a nice gesture to help those who may not have a gift to open during this wonderful time of year.

We aren’t rich. We do not drive new cars or live in a big beautiful house. We do not have the latest and greatest technology or take extravagant vacations. But we still make sure that we are doing our part to help those who have less than we do or need extra assistance. It just feels like the right thing to do.

For our daughters, a simple trip to Bronson Park in downtown Kalamazoo was the highlight of the week. Walking through Candy Cane Lane, seeing the nativity and all the beautiful lights brought me back to my childhood. Seeing their faces light up with joy and amazement at the sights was priceless. Hearing their laughter warmed our hearts. Christmas is a special time. Make sure you do the little things around the holidays as they are just as important.

However, there is one gift that I can purchase for my youngest daughter without fear of messing it up. When Alexis was asked what she wanted for Christmas, her answer brought a smile to our faces.

“Cookies,” she said.

Cookies! I can do that!

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