Early Friday after Thanksgiving, news reporters said roads were filled with shoppers on their way to the mall. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper on Gunbarrel and Shallowford, and all roads leading to both.
The cars were at a standstill and by that time, about 7 a.m., reporters said no parking spaces were left.
One lady interviewed said she was in the parking lot at 3 a.m. awaiting the opening. I feel she was not alone as others pulled in at the crack of dawn. She said she did not go to bed at all that night.
Record sales have been reported and the frenzy continues.
The turkey was not cold from the oven, the leftovers were not put away and dinner guests were just arriving home when those who had a mission were out the door, credit cards in hand, glassy-eyed from fatigue but determined.
In the past few days, we are being told one big-time company made one-day record sales of more than $1 billion.
It seems the once fashionable department stores are struggling to keep their doors open. Name-brand manufacturers, who once were committed to selling only to them, have ventured out into the discount malls.
Big conglomerates are taking all the business, leaving all the others out in the cold.
The mom-and-pop business ventures are becoming a thing of the past. These big names have built stores in every city across the South and probably north of the Mason-Dixon line as well, literally squeezing the little man out of business.
Their motto is one-stop shopping, and folks are doing just that.
If one of these stores is built in your town, the others simply struggle to stay open. I dread the time when we might not have a choice. If this happens, we have only ourselves to blame.
Remember when there was no evidence of shopping before Christmas? Everything that was bought was done secretly and stowed away. Come Christmas morning, it was a big surprise when presents were found under the tree.
The tree was the treat. My mother and daddy would take me and my dog to a farm near town where we had been invited to cut a tree which took some time to find.
I can remember getting mistletoe on some of those times and picking up chestnuts that had fallen to the ground. We really did roast them and they were mouth-watering good.
I remember going to church on Christmas Eve and seeing for the first time the huge tree trimmed in popcorn and paper rings with Santa in attendance handing out apples and oranges.
I loved hearing about the baby Jesus and could picture the manger and the wise men and almost feel the cold as baby Jesus lay only on straw and wrapped in swaddling clothes. I always wondered what “swaddling” meant.
We know now swaddling means “to wrap tightly”.
I grew up thinking how bad the innkeeper was not to let Mary and Joseph stay in the inn.
As the shopping malls will be overcrowded, the roads will be filled with slow-moving cars and folks so busy they are exhausted come Christmas day.
I often wonder if many years ago if we might have thrown the meaning of Christmas out along with all the discarded paper we bought to wrap the presents that no one needs and are returned before the ink is dry on the sales slip.
Christmas should be a holy time. It should be a time of peace, peace of mind, peace of spirit and peace with family and friends.
Mary Sauceman, a resident of LaFayette, writes a weekly column for the Walker County Messenger