Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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Publishers' Corner: 12/01/2015

Ready, set, don't shop

I really dislike shopping in general, but
particularly during the holidays. It's not like I don't
want to give gifts to people; it must be an allergy thing.
As I get out of my car after parking at the mall or
somewhere, my hands start sweating, my legs start to feel
weak, my eyesight gets blurry, I find it hard to talk. If I
actually make it into a store, I usually compound my
problems when I realize I have no idea (or I've completely
forgotten) what I'm looking for. Since this is clearly a
medical condition, one Christmas morning I just gave my
loved ones a doctor's note stating that I was excused from
shopping that year. I wrapped up the note and everything,
but for some reason it was not well received.

Okay, this really didn't happen, but I was close to
going that far a couple of times. Often I've thought, I'll
just make something artsy and crafty in order to avoid
actual shopping. "Merry Christmas, son, here's acorns and
oak leaves glued on a piece of binder paper." When the kids
were little, they got away with this all the time – a piece
of pottery that looked like it went through a nuclear
meltdown, or a drawing that was supposed to be our dog but
had more of the appearance of a hamburger or a Rorschach
inkblot drawing. Admit it, you have some of these gems
buried in your closet.

I hear you all saying, "Why don't you use that thing
called the Internet to buy your gifts, and you never even
have to get out of your chair?" Well, this takes something
called "planning" and "organization," and it's usually Dec.
23 by the time I think about online shopping. And anyway,
when I finally do muster the energy to face the buying
masses, I would actually rather shop locally and spread my
money around Sonoma Valley.

I've never understood the allure of shopping anyway,
especially made-up marketing gimmicks like Black Friday.
Why people would wake up at 4 a.m. the day after
Thanksgiving to stand in line in order to save $15 on a
toaster is beyond my comprehension. People have actually
been killed on Black Friday. Fights have broken out, and
mad rushes have ensued. It's not for the faint of heart or
intelligent of brain.

There have been some glimpses of sanity this year,
though, with efforts to get people out of the stores and –
wait for it – outside! The outdoor retailer, REI, closed
all its stores on Black Friday and paid its employees to
enjoy the outdoors. California State Parks offered free
admission on Black Friday this year.

I think I'll apply this concept to Christmas.
"Children, I give you the gift of…open space!"

I'll let you know how it goes.

– Alec

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