I never thought I’d miss holiday shopping and crowds, but here we are – USA TODAY

I never thought I’d miss holiday shopping and crowds, but here we are – USA TODAY

Anika Reed

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Of all the mundane activities we partake in, I never thought much about holiday shopping – or that I would miss it when I could no longer do it the same way. 

Up until this year, I never realized how much I enjoyed roaming through the mall in search of the perfect gift or tagging along with my mom for last-minute wrapping paper when I came home in December. Scrolling endlessly for gifts online isn’t the same.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected every major aspect of life, from work and school to healthcare and social interactions. It has also affected the smaller, everyday moments, like birthday celebrations, how we shop shop and how we think about toilet paper.

Surprisingly, holiday shopping – which I usually dread – landed on that list of tasks I found I myself longing for this year. Yes, you can still wear masks and shop at many stores, but gone are the overwhelming crowds and long lines from years past. Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days, was “the quietest in 20 years” as in-person foot traffic plunged due to pandemic fears, according to a report by Coresight Research. 

Looking back, I cherish the memories I have of Christmastime activities with family and friends.

Doing a Christmas Zoom call isn’t the same as seeing Santa in person, forcing your mom and aunt to join the line three times in a row because every time your 3-year-old self gets to the front you cry and scream due to fears of Jolly Saint Nick. Screenshots of your family members smiling on a video call with Father Christmas just don’t hit the same as the final photo of you sitting alone in Santa’s chair. 

More: Kids can still get a picture with Santa this year. Here’s how

Doing your Christmas shopping online doesn’t quite compare to the rush of dashing into a Macy’s with your dad on Christmas Eve as he sorts through the picked-over racks for the perfect last-minute gift for your stepmom. Seeing family unwrap the blouse (or tie or bracelet) won’t happen in person.

Some of my fondest memories at the holidays involve visiting my hometown Pembroke Lakes Mall and the Shops at Pembroke Gardens in Florida with my mom or my friends, grabbing a cinnamon roll from Cinnabon (will never forgive the mall for replacing it with a Crocs store), hearing the holiday music blare through the speakers and seeing the garlands and wreaths and lights strung up on the palm trees. Who would have thought something so silly made such a difference?

Black Friday slumps, but some retailers are OK with that: Earlier deals, Cyber Monday come to the rescue

We’re in a new normal that I thought I understood, or at least compartmentalized. But watching the characters in “Love, Actually” dart around with shopping bags or seeing Lorelai and Rory maneuver through the mall during the holidays in “Gilmore Girls” helped drive home the fact that life isn’t the same and we don’t know when or if it ever will be again, even as the vaccine rollout begins across the country. 

Sure, maybe we won’t miss the holiday traffic and, yes, many of us are lucky enough to be able to still share gifts despite all that 2020 has thrown at us. But that doesn’t make us miss shopping with and for loved ones like we used to. 

I’m hopeful that next year we can slowly return to safely doing the activities we used to do. I know I’ll treasure the everyday tasks I took for granted.

What’s on TV and when? Rudolph, Snoopy and Mariah Carey help celebrate the holidays

Published at Wed, 16 Dec 2020 21:10:27 +0000

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Written by Riel Roussopoulos


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