By the time anyone gets around to reading this column our family will be gathered by the Christmas tree opening presents. Of course our greatest gift is having both our daughters home for the holidays. It’s a time for sharing joy, good food and making new lasting memories.
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Like the year we decided to drive from our home in Tennessee to my parent’s house in Florida on Christmas day. Yes, the traffic would be lighter traveling on Christmas day, but it was still an 11-hour trip anyway you sliced it. Locating a restaurant along the way that was open for business wasn’t a priority when this plan was hatched. When we finally stopped, our only two options were a fast food chicken joint and a Hooters Restaurant. Outvoted 2-1 with one abstention, chicken won out. Later that night, a Waffle House would be our only choice for dinner as we were forced to spend the night in a motel three hours from our final destination.
On the flip side, one of our most enjoyable Christmas days was spent on a cruise ship sailing the western Caribbean. This was the ultimate no hassle Christmas gift. Amazing how much fun a family can have when trapped on board a ship at sea on Christmas day.
Ever notice how Christmas traditions change as your kids grow older? Take buying Christmas presents, for example. When they’re toddlers gifts are purchased according to subtle and not so subtle hints received throughout the year.
After Santa’s identity was discovered our family made a point of shopping together. This provided my wife and me an opportunity to actually see what our daughters really wanted. Once known one of us would sneak back inside the store to purchase it, then run to the car and hide the gift in the trunk of the car.
“Where did you go dad?” my daughter asked after one of these clandestine maneuvers.
“Restroom break.” I replied while trying to catch my breath.
This year Christmas shopping evolved a bit more. While perusing a display of purses, my youngest daughter provided a lesson on purse etiquette.
“This is a clutch” she said holding up a small colorful bag. “And this one is a wristlet. See,., it has a wrist strap.” This was all news to me. I always heard my mother refer to it as her pocketbook.
“The clutch is ideal for carrying my driver’s license, student ID, cash, and my house key,” she informed me. “But I usually use the wristlet when I go out,” she continued.
“The wrist strap helps me from losing it” she added.
Sure, I thought. What the heck was she carrying when she lost her driver’s license three times this past year?
After just 15 minutes in one store I suggested getting a shopping cart. It looked as if she was taking every garment in the store to the dressing room.
I never realized how the women’s shopping experience so closely identifies with the sport of hunting. It’s all about tracking down merchandise. Finding items and trying them on to see how one looks wearing them. It’s a rush of sorts.
Guess its equivalent to the action a gambler gets playing cards. It’s not so much about winning than it is the experience of playing the game.
The only clutch I could think about was the clutch I had on my wallet during this shopping preview.
We’ll be making memories again this Christmas morning. Of course I have my traditional Christmas cold. No surprise here. I’ve gotten pretty good at taking pictures with one hand while blowing my nose with the other.
And everyone thinks they know what they received for Christmas this year, but the day isn’t over yet and there are still surprises yet to come for everyone in our family.
And to yours — Merry Christmas!
Richard Esposito is publisher of the Mountain Democrat.