Journey 332: Christmas Possibilities

I moved my Artist Date to today, since I have a birthday to celebrate tomorrow in Oklahoma. And this is also Small Business Saturday, when consumers are encouraged to Shop Small, Shop Local. I decided to combine my date with myself with a little Christmas shopping, and conclude the afternoon with one of my favorite activities. 


I was proud of myself that I got out today. It was cold and rainy and otherwise known as a perfect day to stay home and sip hot tea. I did that yesterday! I refuse to have a “date” at home. It would be too easy for me to rent a DVD and watch it in the comfort of my bedroom and call it good. So I layered on warm clothes and off we went, my inner artist and me, to support a couple of small local businesses and experience Christmas joy. 
My first stop was Blue Moon Boutique, located at 613 S Main Street in Joplin. I love this unique little shop that is marketed as a “modern boutique with a vintage soul”. The store  carries trendy clothes, accessories, gifts and home decor. And it is always so beautifully merchandised. Christmas items were all 50% off today. I carried out some lovely purchases that will look delightful in my home. 


My next stop was Gourmets, a kitchen and more store, located at 2800 S Main. This is another shop that I love to wander through. There is a plethora of kitchen accessories and gadgets, plus home decor and specialty items such as coffees, teas and soup and dip mixes. I happily crossed some items off my Christmas list here and enjoyed chatting with one of the owners. 

My inner artist graciously allowed me another stop to pick up a couple of gifts and then, thoroughly chilled, I opted to drive through Starbucks for a venti hot chocolate and a slice of gingerbread loaf. How festive is that? I didn’t mind the long line of cars, any more than I mind lines in the stores this time of year. There’s a camaraderie among us as we shop and  then wait in line to pay. People were in high spirits and chatty, which I loved. I heard about a pumpkin pie failure for Thanksgiving dinner and sugar intolerance, forgetful parents and decisions about a grandchild’s gifts, all from strangers. 


I carried my hot chocolate and slice of gingerbread loaf into the mall and settled into a comfy leather chair near the Santa Village. This was what I had been looking forward to all afternoon. Sitting among the bustle of shoppers laughing and moving in and out of stores and visiting Santa, while I engaged in a lifelong pleasure: people watching. I have been since childhood, a keen observer of people. I knew my creative child would enjoy this. 

The energy was high here as well. I loved watching parents with their kids as they approached a very authentic looking Santa, garbed in his red suit, with beautiful gray hair and a real, luxurious beard. Most of the kids were excited to see the jolly old elf. Even older kids called out to him and waved as they walked by, too old, they thought, to sit with him, but still young enough to notice him. I most enjoyed a young couple with a 9 month old baby girl. She was not going to cooperate with sitting on a stranger’s lap. She tightly clutched her daddy’s arm and leaned away from Santa, while her mom spoke to her in a high voice with exaggerated facial expressions, “Ooohhh look…it’s Santa!! Want to see him? Santa! Let’s see Santa!” Momma didn’t convince Baby, or Dad. They walked away. 

After a leisurely time of people watching while I sipped my hot chocolate, I stood to join the crowds and make another purchase. It was as I was preparing to leave the mall that I got a strong nudge to make one more stop. New pajamas came to mind. For me. Ah. On the way to Starbucks I had driven through the parking lot of a store, with the intention of looking for an item for myself. Not for the house. Not a Christmas present for a family member. For me. I never parked the car. I decided this was not the time to get something for myself and drove away. Now my creative child, my inner artist was getting my attention. 


When I get home in the evenings, the first thing I do is change into comfy pjs and soft fuzzy socks. That’s my home attire. I have to admit it’s been three or more years since I bought new pjs. While very comfy, the two sets that I have are decidedly worn. What a lovely thought, to purchase a new pair. I walked into JC Penney with the idea that I’d only buy a new pair of pajamas if I could find something decadent for under $20. I was being agreeable, going with the idea, but adding a condition. In hindsight, I didn’t need to do that. I’m learning. 

I found a beautiful, incredibly soft, warm pair of pajamas, in light gray and pink. Normally $54, today they were $14.99. I laughed. And I added two pairs of soft gray socks for $2.50 each. All for under $20, and barely over with tax. I’m enjoying the snuggly pj’s at home now. Thank you Little Cindy. 

I read Week Five in the Artist’s Way this evening, curious if my date today connected at all with the upcoming chapter. Called Recovering a Sense of Possibilty, this chapter is full of amazing truths, and explores how we might curtail our own possibilities by placing a limit on the good we can receive. There’s much to digest in Week Five and things I’ll share about later. These words caught my eyes: “We are stingy with ourselves.” Yes, I used to be very stingy with myself, and even today I held back. But my creativity is awakening, my awareness raising, and I’m listening to God and my inner child. I’m learning not to hold back.