If you ventured out last week to brave the shopping crowds on Black Friday, I commend you, but I say here and now, I was not among you.
Somewhere in the background of all the shopping and spending, there were folks like me who wanted no part of the large crowds and the sales designed to help stores pull even.
In fact, my wife is a big advocate of not giving Christmas gifts and, instead, taking a trip.
We’ve pondered the idea in the past, but with children in the house, it always seemed unfair for the excitement of Christmas to build up and not have something under the tree on Christmas Day.
But perhaps one day, I’ll take her up on her idea.
Over the past several years, our family has gone camping over Labor Day weekend and that has given me the opportunity to learn that North Carolina is full of wonderful getaways. Not that I’d want to go camping in December, but we’ve found wonderful cabins and lake house rentals in parts of the state I had never visited.
They are quiet and peaceful, exactly the kind of existence we all yearn for at Christmas time.
Our Christmas trips, if we ever actually take them, won’t have to be to exotic places like Disney or Hawaii.
I’d be perfectly happy in a lake house overlooking Hyco Lake, a home at the mouth of the Neuse River or a cabin on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
I won’t need to unwrap a gift. I won’t have to travel to this grandparent’s house of that grandparent’s house. My only job will be to keep the fire in the fireplace warm and glowing while we turn off the rest of the world.
But until the children grow up and leave the nest, I figure the gift buying will continue.
That will likely mean hours of wracking my brain trying to figure out what would be good for whom. Asking sisters and brothers what to get other siblings and where to get such things.
Then, in the shadows of Christmas Eve, with the excitement of the holiday tingling in my toes, I’ll join you, brave shopper, on your quest for the perfect Christmas gift. Then we’ll all gather in someone’s living room where I’ll watch with as much curiosity as the gift recipient to see what gift I got them.
Gone will be my memories of getting Uncle Lee the perfect T-shirt or Aunt Jennifer another coffee mug to help her stay awake on those mornings when she has to get up way to early to head off to work.
They will be mixed with the dozens of other gifts I got for all manner of people in the rush to start and finish my Christmas shopping.
But more importantly, they will be lost to the more enjoyable aspects of Christmas, like sleeping in, visiting with family and friends and eating orange slices like they are going out of style.
Hopefully, those of you who ventured out on Black Friday survived the experience in good enough shape to enjoy a holiday equally full of fellowship.