If your house is like mine, it is filled with tins of cookies, tubs of leftover corn casserole and bags (and bags) of ham and turkey. The front hall has shoes tossed to and fro and overnight bags spill out into the hallway.

With Thanksgiving under our belt (literally), and Santa’s arrival last night, the Christmas season is well under way. (Forgive me if you prefer the word “holiday,” just replace it when necessary.)

So let’s chat about gifts and gift giving. If you want me to talk about where the best deals are in town, then perhaps this column is just not for you today.

Today we really start thinking about gift giving. I decided to do a little sleuthing around so I went to CuriousHistory.org. According to their website primitive cavemen gave gifts to one another to show affection. These gifts included interesting rocks or teeth or sea shells. Let me now share a college story … or part of one anyway. When I was a freshman I earned my Christmas money by painting rocks for my friends. These rocks were available from 50 cents to a dollar. Of course, I paid $100 for a trip to the Duck Pond in Muncie, a bucket of pre-collected rocks and a stash of paints. Needless to say, I made no money on my rock business, but everyone in my family received a lovely hand-painted rock for Christmas.

Let us move on.

When my children were little, the gifts were homemade … mittens, scarves, small stools for milking goats. (Seriously.) Gifts to family and friends consisted of blankets made from our sheep’s wool, jars of honey and hand-dipped candles. This brings me to point No. 2: (Point number one being that we give gifts to show affection.) The second point is that the joy is often in the gift giver. I try to think about what I love and how do I share that? I must add that it doesn’t always mean the receiver is in love with it as much as you are.

This story illustrates the second point.

Once I transcribed my grandmother’s diaries for my children for Christmas. (Yes, this is in the same grouping as the year I transcribed the recipes and my farm stories!) My children were in college when they were given the transcribed diaries. Perhaps I needed to wait until they were older to give such a gift?

Moving on to point No. 3, which I think I have totally forgotten by now, but I was sure I had three points!

Anyway, today is a special day of shopping, Small Business Saturday. This is the day (and I hope you use this as your mantra every day!) that we stroll around our small towns and cities and put our coins into their coffers.

Oh, wait, this is my third point … shop your local towns and downtowns! Let me address my own town of Angola, but you can always fill in the name of your own town.

Folks, our town is so delightful! We are so fortunate in Angola. Look at the town square and the shops. Don’t just look! Shop, visit, chat and meet your neighbors.

The money you put into your downtown comes back to you. (According to Forbes Magazine, and those folks do know what they are talking about.) The dimes you place in your own town come back in the form of tax dollars, band uniforms … well, the list goes on.

I want to name all our merchants, but I don’t want to leave someone out so I won’t, but they will be so glad to see you today. And they will be there smiling, waiting on you and wishing you glad tidings of joy!

Local merchants have unique and different gifts and they can also order what you need. Their prices are competitive and in order to have a thriving downtown, we must shop local.

Don’t stop there. (This is point Nos. 4 and 5.) Visit all the local restaurants! In my town, we have so many. These restaurants are the gathering places for the community. Why not take in a movie too? If you haven’t been to the Brokaw yet, then you are missing a wonderful adventure. Make your hometown theater, your theater.

You can bet I will be out and about in my hometown of Angola today. I hope you will be there too. Tell them Lou Ann sent you.

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