I needed to pick up one non-Christmas item from the mall so I stopped by mid-day to avoid the bulk of Christmas shoppers. That was a little naive for December 8 and the parking lots were pretty full but I found a reasonable spot at a lesser-used entrance. There were a lot of people shopping but not uncomfortably so. I slowly made my way to the store I wanted, looking at people and merchandise as I strolled along.
Suddenly I felt happy and content to be there, not my usual reaction to being at a mall. We don’t do the traditional Christmas shopping extravaganza so I had no pressure to finish any shopping list, and people seemed to reflect my mood. Shoppers and sales clerks appeared to be equally relaxed. While I was waiting in line to check out, customers were chatting to each other. A woman who set off the exit alarm cheerfully came back to have her bag searched. When the offending clip was found, the customer volunteered to go back to that department to have it removed. This checkout desk did not have the removal equipment and she was concerned about the 5 or 6 people waiting to be checked out. Really?? So it wasn’t just me. Everyone seemed to have a touch of the Christmas spirit.
I continued to walk around the mall looking at the displays and the people. There were a few stressed parents with crying babies, but why, after all, would a baby want to be at the mall? There was a short, calm line of infants and young children waiting with their parents for a picture with Santa - very cute. After I picked up a few additional items for myself and for stocking stuffers, I headed out. I’m sure the atmosphere at the mall will change as it gets closer to Christmas, but today it was a little piece from A Christmas Carol: "so let it be said of us, we knew how to keep Christmas well if any people alive possessed the knowledge."