The coronavirus has forced my hand.
I typically avoid online shopping, preferring instead to browse store shelves, examine potential gifts in person and avoid shipping fees – and potential delivery problems.
I'm ordering more items online to reduce my risk of exposure to the coronavirus, but filling a virtual shopping cart doesn't offer the same festive experience as visiting stores in person.
No Christmas music plays in the background. And holiday decorations – forget that! There's not any digital tinsel adding sparkle or Christmas lights adding a twinkle to store websites.
Perhaps that's why I especially enjoyed a quick trip to Von Maur during a trip to see the gigantic Christmas tree at Jefferson Pointe with my oldest son.
The music tree, as we call it, offers shows every half hour and had just finished a show when we walked up. Instead of waiting outside, in the cold, for the next one, we ducked inside the upscale department store to keep warm during our wait.
Von Maur, like always, was decked out for Christmas, and the red, green and gold was hard to miss. Decorated trees stood in what seemed like every window, and an even larger tree near the escalators stood alongside Santa's sleigh.
The reminder of Christmas – and the pre-pandemic Christmas shopping seasons – lightened my spirits weighed down with worry and stress.
After a few rides up and down the escalators at my son's insistence, we strode out into the cold and joined other families waiting for the musical light show.
We likely will return this season, and if I need a bounce in my step that night I know where I'll go – to the department store emitting that cozy, golden Christmas glow.