I made the mistake of going downtown this afternoon. After several winters here I should know by now that trying to look around on the afternoon of Christmas Eve day, in an attempt to find some fun and excitement and other Christmas cheer, is going to be disappointing at best and rather depressing when I stop to think about it. I should have figured it out as soon as I arrived downtown and saw very little more traffic there than is usual on a Sunday afternoon when all the stores are closed.
I started my search at the post office...last pre-Christmas day to collect those final deliveries of cards and letters. Unfortunately there was no first class mail delivery to our town today, so all that was in there was a flyer for a store that doesn't have a franchise here.
On to the bank to make a deposit before they closed for the holidays. I made it there on time and took out a few dollars for myself, thinking it would be really edifying for my lackadaisical attitude toward Christmas if I bought myself a little present to celebrate the gift giving of the holiday season. Just thinking about it made me cheery.
The pottery store was all ready closed and won't be open again until the new year. My favourite ladies' wear store was closed and won't be open again until the new year. The other ladies' wear store had nothing in my size that interested me and it is an uber expensive place so no point in spending money there just for the sake of a treat I wouldn't be that excited about The music store has just recently gone out of all their piano music other than the course books for Royal Conservatory and Suzuki methods. They had no jazz CD's. The fabric store and pharmacy had nothing interesting that I needed for a pick-me-up in their giftware departments and the other gift store that was still open featured all manner of useless knick-knacks I don't need or want. That left the 2 hardware stores and a WallyWorld. Doubtful I would find anything in a hardware store I would want. I all ready know every inch of WallyWorld and their stock...crap, crap and more cheap crap; okay for every day needs but not really the sort of present there I would want to give myself for a special treat.
I did find two fantastic cotton sweaters for my husband at the mens' wear store and was thrilled to be able to get them in his size. We don't exchange gifts at Christmas but I know he would never pay the price for either of them no matter how much he would like to have them. I am breaking the no gifts rule this year because the man deserves a treat for Christmas, a nice surprise to thank him for being the great man that he is, for working full time so that I don't have to work at all and can manage my health full time, for never criticizing me, for encouraging me in all that I do, for being a great dad to our son, for being patient with the rest of my family, for having integrity at all times, for being a peace maker, for working so hard for terrible wages and very little encouragement and with no real chance of promotion at his age. I want him to know I see and I care. I was able to keep my purchases within his only 2 boundaries for gifts for himself: nothing from WallyWorld and nothing made in China.
So, no gift for myself, but I am so cheery now because I found something for my husband and he will be very surprised...hopefully delightfully so!
It turned into a good shopping expedition after all, going downtown was not actually a mistake, but I still find it difficult to be away from the pulse of the city the day before Christmas. I miss the lights and the noise and the music pumping through the sound systems, coming out all garbled. I miss the traffic and the rushing about and the pushing and shoving for the last few popular items on the store shelves and the stores being open 24 hours. I miss feeling part of something bigger and more exciting than a small prairie town sitting abandoned in the snow and ice while the rest of the whirlwind flies madly about in all its excitement.
We are going to the city in January and I will get myself a little something special then. It won't be as exciting or loud or crazy fun as Christmas Eve day, but still it will be the city and I will enjoy every minute of it.