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‘Tis the Season to Spread Some Cheer: A NoBo Perspective

‘Tis the Season to Spread Some Cheer: A NoBo Perspective

By Matt Laidlaw

There are a lot of things that get me excited about the Holidays.  Ok, I can probably narrow that down to about twelve or thirteen things.  The easy stuff, the food, camaraderie amongst friends, watching the looks on the kids faces when they open presents, putting together all the presents, then watching as the kids have more fun throwing around the wrapping paper and sticking bows to each other’s foreheads.

Coming up from Malden, there is a spectacular, panoramic view of red and white lights along the North Shore’s main thoroughfare, Route 1.  I know it’s Christmastime when I hear Lou Monte’s “Dominick the Donkey” and Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah” song at least 3 times during my forty-minute ride to the Square One Mall.  Although we don’t know each other, there’s a feeling of kinship with my new friend in the blue Ford Taurus next to me, as we sing along to every “Jing-a-di-jing” and “all Three Stooges.”

This year I’m extra brave.  I’m taking extra hour-long ride to go to the Christmas Tree Shop.  Yes, like a young calf boldly entering the giant herd, I strut through the front entrance knowing at some point there’s a branding iron coming my way with my customer number on it.  My wife, of course, makes a beeline to whatever she needs and leaves me in the dust to meandering slowly through the aisles.  I offer the occasional low toned moo, just to get around a corner, or pass by the group trying to get the last of the Christmas towels.

Of course, the rookie that I am, get herded into the scented candle aisle, next to – no lie, Mrs. Bessie.  Mrs. B and I go over the finer points of inhaling the enchanted essence as we wait for the rest of herd to move past the clearance rack by the registers.

Twenty minutes later, I specifically point out to Mrs. Bessie that I do prefer the scented pinecone, not the scented pear tree. Mrs. Bessie, on the other hand, chuckles at my choice opting for the spring flowers mixed with the occasional spicy eggnog.  We both enjoy a laugh especially when the aforementioned “jing-a-da-jings” plays over the loudspeaker.

It’s great to be immersed in the holiday shopping experience.  Forget about shopping online, we all need to get out to the stores for some great entertainment.  With so many folks are stressing out, running around, cutting each other off in the checkout line, stealing things from other people’s carriages, even trying to fake people out in the aisle, there has to be room for joy.

I think of this as a family of six just separates from a huddle like a New England Patriots spread offense.  The five year old even had a Wes Welker shirt on. Good thing my wife has an awesome spin move, she got right around the three teenage girls and nabbed the last Happy Napper.  I did put up a nifty, yet controversial cut block, if I do say so myself.

Ok, I have to admit, I’m cheerful because we did all of our shopping over the Internet.   No lines, no waiting, no screaming kids.  I can play Adam Sandler in the background, just for my own amusement.  I could make my own holiday coffee instead of waiting for my double mocha iced latte at Barnes and Noble.  They don’t necessarily sprinkle the cinnamon on the way Starbucks did but I have all the cinnamon that I want.

It truly amazes me that as the world gets faster, easier and more connected… we actually do less for each other. There’s probably an up and down side as there is to everything. I mean I miss getting all of my friends really unique gifts that took some real thought and effort to find, whether it was from Spencer’s Gifts when I was younger or Brookstone as I got a little older.

The holiday season is certainly a time of year to get giddy, especially with the holiday falling on a weekend. Many families can expect endless, crazy hours of huddled mass hysteria. Even if you didn’t take that extra time to connect with the gifts you’re giving, it’s these moments that will make you remember who you are close to and why.

Hope all our NoBo readers enjoy these final weeks leading up to Christmas, New Years, or whatever holiday suits your fancy. Just remember to spread some cheer. Happy Holidays!

P.S.  To all of my Yankee-Swap / Secret Santa friends:  I still have my list ready and there’s still plenty of items left – with the exception of the pine cone scented candle, and Brookstone’s Custom Pen and Pencil set – yes the one that’s an emergency fire starter, flashlight, bottle opener, hammer and back massager.  I got that one for myself.

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