Opinion

WALLY'S WORLD: It’s best to avoid the malls

Well, ready or not, it’s time to buy a few gifts.

Despite the screwed up economy, most of us can scrape a couple of nickels together to buy special somethings for those special someones – and let’s hope there’s enough left for a contribution to local churches and food banks.  But let me remind you, there’s only 10 more days until Christmas. Of course, that’s plenty of time because none of us waits until the last day or, God forbid, the last hour.

Though I certainly encourage you to support our local businesses, these small merchants simply can’t compete with the huge selections offered in the malls, a fact no one can deny.  The Auburn Supermall has about eight different shoe stores, depending upon which ones are open on any particular day, and perhaps 16 or 17 clothing stores. (By itself, the Burlington Coat Factory can clothe half the population of Enumclaw.)

Nevertheless, the malls leave much to be desired. For instance, you can’t get a drink in any of them and one should never embark on a shopping spree until your head is properly primed. That’s reason enough to shop in Enumclaw, where you can occasionally dart into The Mint or The Rainier.

It’s also nice to step outside in the chilly fresh air as you stroll from store to store. Inside the controlled climate of a mall, you forget it’s winter – and winter, at least in my mind, is an intrinsic part of the Christmas milieu.   (Which is why I could never fully succumb to the Christmas spirit in the desert Southwest.)

Everything considered – the gaudy, holiday decor, the large, stylish selections of merchandise, the winter ambiance, and a coffee nudge or two – I guess I prefer shopping in downtown Seattle. The twinkling lights on the naked trees along Fifth Avenue, the large window displays in Macy’s and the grand pianist in Nordstrom are all quite splendid.

As I turn up my collar to buffer the breeze whistling down Pike Street, I might get waylaid in the comfort of Oliver’s lounge behind Westlake Center. In fact, that’s what happened to me last year. And the year before that as well. You’d almost think in was a holiday tradition or something.

May I suggest you share the experience with someone you love. After all, love is the most important sentiment of the season, not the gifts. It’s love that allows you to forsake the real world and, at least for a few hours or days, slip merrily and starry-eyed into the world of romance. And what good is Christmas shopping without a little romance?

So, with your significant someone, share a few chestnuts “roasting on an open fire” outside the Fairmont/Olympic Hotel.   You might ride the merry-go-round in Westlake. Or, hand-in-hand and soul-to-soul, stroll through the Pike Place Market. Always leave enough time to snuggle in the rear booth of some secluded, intimate lounge away from the hustle and bustle outside. Share a light kiss or two while Bing Crosby croons “White Christmas.”

Alas, I’m a hopelessly incurable romantic. And nothing inspires such pathetic dreamers like the holiday season.

Cheers, everyone! Have a merry Christmas!

 

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