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Patience is key to joyful holiday shopping

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Managing Editor
The Christmas season is upon us and once again we will all be rushing around to a variety of stores and shops to find the perfect gifts.
There are so many different gift ideas these days, yet I find that more and more people act like there is a shortage of anything that could be described as a Christmas present. Along the lanes of department stores, malls and big supercenters, the hardest things to find are patience and a kind word from a fellow shopper.
I believe many people, including myself, get grumpy and irritable when the words "shopping", "mall" or "I only have one more week to get something for Mom!" are uttered in December. But, it is a job that must be done so we go out there, seeking out the perfect gift with thousands of other people doing the exact same thing.
I often think back to my childhood when Christmas was so much easier. I just sat at home, stared wide-eyed at the Sears catalog, copied names of items I wanted from the catalog to the sheet of paper that soon became my "Christmas list." I would give this list to my mother and my shopping was done. It was that simple. Of course, I never got everything, or even a quarter of the things that were on my list, but I can't recall ever being disappointed on Christmas Day.
The past few shopping seasons have all but obliterated those memories, however. I have been run over with shopping carts, told in a variety of ways to move it,' and have had to battle my way to the checkout counters.
I am not pointing any fingers. Although, I try very hard to remain calm and kind, I know that I have fallen victim to the Christmas-shopping bug from time to time.
It is hard to believe that during this wonderful time of the year we can get so rude and obnoxious that we want to run each other down with a buggy full of toys.
Perhaps we should all look back at how we did our Christmas shopping as kids. I remember beginning my shopping earlier in the year. I gave my mom the first draft of "the list" around October.
I also remember taking my time while searching the aisles for the perfect toy. There was too much at stake for me to make rash decisions. If I needed to read the historical data on a particular G.I. Joe then I stepped to the side and read it while remaining aware of other gift hunters who may need me to move slightly left or right.
Another good thing was that we had several local stores in which to shop. We could go in these stores and chances were I would see someone from my school and we could exchange gift ideas. Plus, we always knew the people who worked there and they didn't seem to mind us asking silly questions like where are the video games.' They simply answered the question and sometimes even walked with us to make sure we found them.
Having patience, being prepared and shopping with people you know should make holiday gift buying a more enjoyable experience. Let's take the joy of sharing back. It shouldn't be dangerous to get someone a gift. Let's just take our time and show a little kindness out there.
Happy shopping!