The joy of the holidays

Published 3:52 am Wednesday, December 18, 2019

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Wow! The hands of time seem to whirl at lightening speed increasing daily during the weeks leading up to Christmas. I’ve mentioned before that several of my more organized friends seem to finish all their Christmas preparations several weeks before the big event. And each year I plan to join their ranks, but I’m beginning to wonder if I really want to.

With Christmas just nine days away I still have several things to finish, but the rush of preparation is part of my fun. My son, Ryan, is home from California and has been hanging with me for a few days. He tells me that brick and mortar stores will soon be a thing of the past, but I think there will always be a demand for personal service from those of us who love shopping.

As I conversed with him about the joy of the hunt, the satisfaction of finding just the right item, and the fun of being out and about meeting and greeting other shoppers I thought I had him convinced of the absolute value of a hands on shopping experience. But as we stood in line at a department store and heard another shopper mention the wait time for checkout could be up to an hour Ryan’s eyes began to twinkle in delight. He had gained another point in our debate over online verses hands on shopping.

It actually didn’t take as long as the other shopper anticipated before our carts rolled to the next available check out, but the point was made that convenience is a huge factor in choosing online shopping. Regardless of that fact, spending time with my friends and grown up children shopping and relaxing over lunch is one of the joys of the holiday season.

Imagine my absolute delight when both of my sons and I spent a happy hour perusing the aisles at Books a Million today. I found several Christmas gifts for those special people on my list, and had input from a couple of the recipients of said gifts, which always helps. Some of my sweetest memories from early years at the Penton home include pjs, hot cocoa, and travels through time and space all between the cover of a book. We spent untold hours in the deep woods of Wisconsin, along the banks of the muddy Mississippi River, or among the beautiful country lanes of Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Probably due to the many hours spent enjoying books together as a family all my children love reading. When they were young my little ones could hardly wait for the next chapter of their bedtime stories, and now they all enjoy spending time in a bookstore. This is a shopping experience that can’t be duplicated by punching an order in on a keyboard. But realistically, my fun times at Christmas don’t have to involve shopping or anything in particular. I could be anywhere doing anything as long as those I love are by my side.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at