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Today was “small business Saturday”, so I celebrated by visiting a holiday boutique coordinated by my dear friend Tami.  It was my first real exposure to Christmas shopping this year, and it was lovely.  Lots of high quality handmade things, personalized gifts, and unique jewelry.  And since Christmas is barely five weeks away, it was time.   I bought a present and got more than a few ideas for later.

Then I visited a chain department store, because I had a $10 off coupon that was expiring today.  I get so aggravated when I let pure money expire!  I thought I might find a new Thanksgiving wreath for the front door, or possibly a table centerpiece.  We really enjoy Thanksgiving around our house, and our decorations could use some freshening up.

It felt like Thanksgiving in the store — almost.  The ceiling and aisles were festooned with burnt-orange balls and garlands that upon closer inspection were clearly supposed to be Christmas ornaments, but modern and non-traditional.  There was Christmas music playing in the background (yes, it is too early for Christmas music).  I looked and looked, but could not find a single Thanksgiving decoration for sale anywhere in the store.  They had great buys on Welcome mats, if I was ready for Santas, reindeer, or snowmen.  But nothing even reminiscent of fall or harvest or thankfulness.

So I spent my $10 on new underwear for my youngest granddaughter, and went decor-less into the parking lot.  The parking lot reminded me again of how much I dislike holiday department store shopping. Each year I blissfully forget what a mess parking lots are at Christmas time until the season begins again and I am forcibly reminded.  Oh, yes, I heartily dislike shopping center parking lots at Christmas.

Which leads me back to the joy of small boutiques and independent shopkeepers.  This next week I will head downtown to continue my search for Thanksgiving decorations.  I won’t give up.  I know they are out there.  And then, after we have enjoyed our family holiday of thankfulness, I will be ready in my heart to decorate and shop for Christmas.

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