Friday, December 24, 2010

Random Thoughts On Christmas Eve

BeezleBub and I were out Christmas shopping yesterday, heading out around 3:30 in the afternoon. (Yes, I took half a vacation day to duck out of work early. So sue me.) I knew that we would probably miss the evening shopping crowd as we would be hitting the local outlet center just as most folks were heading home for dinner. It turns out we timed it just right.

I though we'd have to park out in the boonies at the outlets, but that wasn't the case. While there were plenty of cars in the lot, there weren't that many. We managed to park all of two rows back from the central section, meaning we didn't have to walk far at all. BeezleBub picked up most of what he needed within 30 minutes and we were on our way to the next stop – WalMart. Another 20 minutes there and we were done.

After a brief dinner stop at Wendy's we were on our way home, and just in time. The moderately heavy traffic we'd seen while heading to the outlets had turned into very slow moving bumper-to-bumper traffic heading towards outlets and other shopping centers.

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One of the most difficult things to find while shopping? Shirt and sweater boxes. Deb needed them so she could wrap some of the clothing she'd bought as gifts. Do you think I could find them anywhere? Nope.

That's one downside to shopping online. When you buy something like that at a store they'll provide boxes to make it easier to wrap them. (Yes, I know some stores will charge for them, but many don't.)

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Something I saw that got me smiling on my way home from last minute Christmas shopping this morning:

Out in front of Funspot, a local year-round amusement center, their electronic sign was flashing it's not unexpected season's greetings messages. Sandwiched among them: “Who is John Galt?

I wonder how many people driving by there understood the question or its context?

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Driving around various parts of the southern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee this morning I was able to see how much of the lake has frozen over.

Paugus Bay was frozen from its southern-most part to just past Christmas Island. Above that it was all open water. Weirs Beach and Meredith Bay didn't show a bit of ice anywhere. By contrast, all of Alton Bay is frozen over. It could be the wind is stirring up the water enough to keep wide areas of the lake from freezing over.

Considering the annual Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby is a little over a month away, the lake had better hurry up and freeze over.

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Another thing I've noticed while shopping during the past couple of weeks: most folks are either paying cash or using debit cards for their Christmas purchases. Very few are using their credit cards. I did ask a few retailers over the past week or so and they confirmed my observations.

I don't know if this is because of the higher interest rates being charged by card issuers or because card holders nearing their credit limits. Or it could be that people just don't want to see those bills hitting their mailboxes next month. Regardless of the reason, people are using cash and debit far more than they have in quite some time.

Deb has done likewise, forgoing the credit card as much as possible even though she did almost all her shopping online. Not that we didn't use ours, but we kept our use of it to an absolute minimum.

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The Manse is not adorned with its usual level of Christmas lights. Instead we opted for something simpler and more traditional: small white 'candle' lights in each window. The only other adornment is our Christmas tree inside which can be seen through our front windows from the road.

Not that we've ever gone over the top in regards to outdoor Christmas decorations. But we didn't put up the usual outdoor lights outlining The Manse. It wasn't a conscious on our part. Rather our respective work/school schedules left us little time to put them up this year.

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We are heading over the river and through the woods to the In-Laws first thing tomorrow morning.

BeezleBub had hoped to go down there today, but we disabused him of that notion, reminding him we'd have to use two vehicles (Deb is working tonight) and that the sleeping accommodations would be less than optimal. In the end he figured we were right and that going down first thing Christmas morning would be just fine. (Of course his idea of 'first thing in the morning' is 7AM. We'll see.)

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