This time of year and … SHOPPING!!!!

horseheader1.jpeGood morning to you all!

 I was going to write to you today about Christmas — which is coming up much too soon — and what it means to me — when I realized that right now what Christmas means to me is shopping, and as fast as possible…

It always seems that I’m so behind at this time of year.  How about you?  Do you have your shopping done way ahead of time, or are you like me and put it off until almost the last moment?

Well, if you don’t mind, let’s take a moment to look at shopping.  Whether you love it or not, we all seem to have to do it from time to time, and it appears that much of our civilization depends on thee and me out there doing our share of shopping.  In the old days, there was trading.  From the Native American standpoint, shopping consisted of get togethers at the end of the summer and seeing old friends and relatives.  Here was probably the mainstay of what has become the modern Pow-wow.  Of course, there was the Trading Post as a center of shopping, but that’s long after the trade routes were already well established. 

page3c1.jpgHere is a picture of my hubby and me at Fort Union in North Dakota — an old trading post. 

 In the old West the general store was the place where most people went to stock up on the goods they needed.  Before the white man had taken stock of the Wild West, there were trading centers where even enemies went to trade with one another.  One of these places was the Mandan village, which was located on the Missouri River — in what is now North Dakota.  Tribes from all over the West would come to the Mandan village where trading would go on night and day.  There was much talk, much getting to know each other and lots of enjoyment day in and day out. 

Much of civilization seems to center around trade and trade routes and for want of a better term, shopping.  The Old Santa Fe Trail was made famous due to the trade and the commerce between one civilization and another.   But I digress…

I would love to hear your opinions on this subject.  For myself, I love to shop, but I have friends that dread it every year.  So I understand if you are not one of those people who looks forward to getting out in those crowds.  I must admit that as a youngster I hated shopping, couldn’t wait until it was done, but as I grew older and had more appreciation for clothes and shoes and items like this in general, I grew to love it.

So come on in and tell me.   Do you enjoy shopping, or absolutely dread it?  Whether we like it or not, however, it seems that shopping is as old as the human race, itself.

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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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25 thoughts on “This time of year and … SHOPPING!!!!”

  1. I’m a bad shopper, Karen. This year I’ve done some of it online. I’ll know if that’s a good idea when the presents either show up or don’t.
    What I do like is to go shopping and only need a few last things. I like the crowds, if I don’t have to wait in line forever. I love the decorations and music. I can’t handle it though if I’m rushed.
    I think I only need one more small gift, wait, TWO. With hopes of buying them both at WalMart or Target some day when I sneak away from work and can meander. But the days are running low, I hope I get it done.
    I don’t have a tree up yet, either. Yikes! We just got a new bed and right now, the old one is laying in my dining room on the floor, right where I need to put the tree!!!!!!!!
    Time to panic.

  2. Hi Karen! Put me in the category with those who hate to shop. The only shopping I’ve done so far this year has been online. Fortunately, I now have only a few things left that will force me out to the stores to track them down.

    The crowds are exactly the reason I hate to get out. Especially this time of year — flu season.

    Hubby and I were talking about this just a couple of days ago. Christmas is all about buying and has lost it’s true meaning. The presents aren’t even the big deal they once were. In our society, it’s Christmas every day of the year. I mean, who of us doesn’t mostly get whatever we need or want, when we need or want it? Everyone has everything coming and going out there, so what do you buy them that will be special? It’s hard and a complete waste of money. I know people who go deeply into debt each Christmas just so they can give the kids and spouses everything on their lists, to be tossed aside almost immediately and forgotten.

    I would love to see the true spirit of Christmas and do something special for someone — if only I knew who they were and what that something might be. Too often of late, even our charities have turned into Grinches. For me, I would love to just settle in for the duration with my little family, bake some goodies from scratch and sit around watching a few of the old movies and looking at the tree. Home and contentment with no mad dashes to the stores is what I crave this time of year. Toss in a little snow and that would be pure Heaven. :o)

  3. Hi Karen,

    I ONLY love to shop if I have time. And as you know, Christmas always seems to sneak up on us. I find there’s just not enough time in the day. My husband is a doll and very supportive. He knows my days have to be dedicated to writing, so he goes out with me very late at night. No crowds. The stores stay open until 11PM during this time. With all the craziness lately, he won’t let me shop by myself at night anyway. So we go and he helps me decide on what gifts to buy. I do appreciate it. And he even helps me with wrapping. I love CHRISTMAS and I love to shop for gifts and wrap and bake, but things are always so hectic this time of year.
    I hope you’ll be home for Christmas – are you back yet?

  4. Fun post, Karen. You and your husband are such a cute couple. Put me in the hate to shop category. I do most of mine on line, except for my three grandchildren, who never seem to know what they want until the last minute. Only for them will I brave the malls and ugly box stores!
    For friends and neighbors, I grow forced bulbs in little pots from the dollar store. This year it’s hyacinths, already lined up in the kitchen. People seem to love them–no calories and you can throw them away when they’re done. My one sister and I give to charities in each other’s names–the best gift of all. Happy holidays, all.

  5. Oh, I love shopping but this Christmastime I’ve been laid low with a flu (some strain that my shot DIDN’T prevent) and a death in the family. I did get some online stuff done beforehand and am “adopting” a donkey in Israel for my mom. (She loves animals and needs nothing.) It’s the dearest refuge for seriously abused equines. Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land. Tears my heart out reading what these sweet animals have to endure. $$ helps feed a critter and keep him/her a bit comfy.

  6. I’m not much of a holiday person and I dread shopping this time of year (not my most favorite thing anyway). I find people are ruder and there are just too many people out. Not all people are rude, I’ve run into some very nice and delightful people but they seem to be few and far between (and I live in the land of nice!). Most of my shopping this year will be at the grocery store, I’m spending this weekend baking so I can give homemade gifts. I have no idea what to give this year so I hope this will do. I hate the stress of the Christmas season.

  7. Hi Mary!

    Like you, I like the music and the feel in the air — and I don’t mind the crowds if, like you, I have only a few things to buy — or lots of time. Since I’m away from home right now, my Christmas is a little easier cause I don’t have to put up decorations. But easier or not, I miss the rush and good cheer in the air.

  8. Hi Devon!

    I echo your sentiments on the thrill of staying home, baking something from scratch and just relaxing with family and friends, and I think you are right that Christmas has seemed to lose its meaning. I think it’s a good Christmas when one has lots of family and friends around and tries to make their holiday bright and cheery. But yes, I think you’re right — it’s gotten too big business, too commercial and the true meaning seems to be lost on us nowadays. Sometimes I wish for the days of yore.

  9. Hi Charlene!

    Yeah, Christmas is a busy time of year, I agree. Usually I lose the entire month just in preparation for Christmas — but this year, I simply don’t have the time — and I’m away from home, so it’s an odd Christmas.

    And a husband who goes out with you shopping! I love it!

  10. Hi Elizabeth!

    What a creative gift to give your neighbors. Sometimes (depending on the neighbor) I give my books away as a present — but mostly I try to bake something for the neighbors — I like your idea better, though. No calories.

    Thank you for the compliment, as well — it’s an old picture — I’m afraid we’ve aged a little since then — but that’s good, right?

  11. Hi Tanya!

    What a sweet and unusual gift to give to your mom. That’s really thoughtful. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had the flu and that there’s been a death in the family.

    May these troubles pass by and leave your wiser than before. Thanks for the post!

  12. Hi Lynn/Elsandra!

    Baking is one of my most favorite activities this time of year. But since I’m not at home this year, my shopping was easier than usual — all gift cards. I hate to do it that way, as I love shopping for that special gift for someone else — and finding it at a price I can afford. Seems alot of people are shopping online and that’s great! Easier shopping, unless you’re like me and have the turtle of all turles for a laptop computer. : )

    Thanks so much for your post.

  13. Karen, lump me in with those who absolutely hate crowds and shopping. I’d rather have a root canal. I don’t know why we feel we HAVE to buy gifts even if there’s nothing in the world they need or want. Seems like wasted money to me. Tanya has a great idea of giving to some organization or charity in the person’s name. That’s more beneficial and saves on wear and tear of my feeble brain. Giving to someone or something in need is the true spirit of Christmas. It’s just crazy to equate the amount of money of a gift to how much I love that person. This year I’m sponsoring some children from the local orphanage so they can have joy on Christmas morning. And they’ll know someone is thinking of them.

    I loved your bit about the trading posts and how the Native Americans gathered and socialized. Excellent post! Your blogs are always interesting.

  14. Hi Linda!

    Another really great idea — and what an original and responsible thing to do — to sponsor some children from the local orphanage. Wow, Linda. That’s wonderful to hear.

    Well, I’m not sure why I love Christmas shopping so much, maybe it’s a left over from when my kids were young and trying to make each Christmas as special as possible — now I try to do that for my friends and my husband and his family (and my own, too, though we are scattered all over the country).

    Thanks also for your compliment on the info on the trading posts and such. I find all this so interesting. It seems that one thing we continue to share with our ancestors is the thrill of new things. : )

  15. Karen,
    This has been a very strange year. It’s warm here in Texas and so I have not been in the Christmas spirit. However, I am not in a bah-humbug mood either and therefore have completed ALL my Christmas shopping and am 90% finished with wrapping them. This is a wonderful thing. I won’t be shopping at the local mall at the last minute.

    And the best news is that I have several friends and family members who are giving signed copies of my novel, Endings, to all their friends for Christmas.

    Barbara Bergin
    author of “Endings”

  16. Most years we always seem to be running behind. Not this year though. We did almost all our shopping online and only have a few treats left to get to put in the kids stockings. I still have wrapping to do, but I’m looking forward to the fun of doing that when I can relax and watch a Christmas movie or show while I get it finished up.

    I’ve already gotten the karaoke machine I mentioned on a previous blog comment and I got the confirmation of shipment email this morning about the 3 disks I ordered to go with it. Ooooh! I can’t wait.

    I don’t mind shopping all that much except at this time of year. When I was pregnant with my daughter 5 years ago, we went shopping at Wal-Mart and people were so rude. They’d look at my pregnant belly and I swear they’d just purposely bulldoze past me. I felt like I was getting lost in the shuffle and stepped on.

    I too would just as soon snuggle down in the house with homebaked goodies and treats and holiday movies and be with family and friends as to brave the outside world at this time of year and if I could just convince all three sets of grandparents not to go ALL out for the kids presents, that’d be even better…my kids have so much stuff they hardly have room for what they do have as it is and they barely play with half of it anyway. To me, some clothes and one small gift would suffice…but I know grandparents have a penchant for spoiling— and boy! are my kids spoiled!!! Which is why I ask both my kids every year, a few times even, if they understand that Christmas is about something far more important that presents, and even Santa. Those are nice, but it’s more about love and sacrifice and the birth of Jesus.

  17. Karen. . . I love shopping, but I particularly like shopping at craft fairs. I haunt them from October through December and usually get 90 percent of my gifts there. Always something new and fascinating and unique. The latest was an “Best French Onion Soup Ever” bowl. You stick an onion on spike in the middle. Add wine and cook in microwave. Haven’t tried it, but it’s on my “to do” list before I give one for Christmas.

  18. I like to shop, but I don’t love it. I’ll admit that I did quite a bit of my Christmas shopping online this year. When they offer sale prices and free shipping, they make it hard to resist.

  19. We have one rule for our parents–who have EVERYTHING–buy something that rots. Like fresh fruit. If you get them a trinket of any kind it just becomes a burden for them to ‘cherish’ forever along with the one zillion other trinkets we’ve blessed them with over the years.
    Hello Harry and David pears!!!!
    As a matter of fact my oldest sister always sends Harry and David pears which are insanely good. I’ll bet they’re at Mom’s house now. I need to go visit and munch pears. She never gets them eaten before they rot, what a terrible waste and I do my best to save her by slipping them into my coat pockets and making off with them. 🙂

  20. I hate shopping for myself so I rarely do it. I also don’t like to shop alone – too boring. But if I have someone to go with, enough time, plenty of ideas and of course enough money, it can be a nice experience. but that’s a lot of if’s lol.

  21. I am not much of a shopper myself but I do it when I have to like lately. I also shop on line a lot. Sometime it is nice to go shopping just to get out of the house for a while. Having enough money to go shopping is very helpful.

  22. I love to go shopping at Christmas I try to go at odd times to miss the rude people. I always try to think of the person I’m buying for and i ask myself what they would probably want that they wouldn’t buy themselves( nothing to expensive). Usually the people i know like myself buy for their children all year and go without things they like to have to make sure their kids have what they need, people like that i really enjoy buying for because that’s what i do. It’s the one time of the year I feel like I have a shopping pass from my husband because he doesn’t like to shop so i get to.

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