Christmas is over, and I’ve completed my annual pilgrimage to the mall.

No, not for Boxing Day shopping.  I don’t care if it’s “80% off, everything must go”.  I’ll cheerfully pay twice as much in January if it means I get to avoid anything resembling a retail outlet for the next week.

On the contrary, I engaged in a personal and private ritual I’ve upheld for the last fourteen years, ever since we moved into our house a few blocks away from the mall.

Each year, on Christmas Day, I stroll over to the mall to stand in awe and wonder, contemplating the grand sweep of empty parking lot.

Quite apart from the fact that wide-open spaces make me happy, I also enjoy the knowledge that it’s one day out of the year when most people get the day off.

I know there are lots of people still toiling behind the scenes.  Our wonderful police and emergency services are working harder than ever while the rest of us, freed from our common-sense work routines, rush around making sure we do as many life-threatening things as possible.  Meanwhile, our transit keeps moving and our communications systems keep talking and our passenger planes keep flying.

I’m thankful for all the people in essential services who keep our world running regardless of religious or secular holidays.

But the convenience stores were hard at it on Christmas Day, too.  Since when did it become “essential” for us to have immediate access to a bottle of pop or a pack of smokes?

Cue grumpy old woman:  ‘Way back when, there were no convenience stores (at least not in our neck of the woods).  All the stores were closed two days a week – always Sunday, and either Saturday or Monday.  Nobody died from potato-chip deprivation.

Granted, it was a little inconvenient if we were baking and we ran out of eggs or milk or something, but we planned ahead.  We kept enough on hand, and in the worst-case scenario, we did without.  After all, it was only a couple of days.


I know; it was primitive.

It was also… relaxing.

Don’t get me wrong, I take advantage of seven-day-a-week shopping like everybody else.  We all lead busy lives, and it’s great to be able to just pop in and grab what I need whenever I think of it.

It’s just that I like the idea of taking a break sometimes.  Forget “holy” days – nobody can agree on those anyway.  But wouldn’t it be nice to set aside a handful of days a year when everybody calls a halt?

I expect there would be an uproar from retailers and consumers and probably even workers at the mere suggestion that malls could close occasionally.  I won’t be surprised if very soon the Christmas Day closure becomes a thing of the past, too.

So, while it lasts, I go and enjoy the empty parking lot.

Slow down.  Take a breath.



P.S. I’m giving away two signed copies of Never Say Spy over on Goodreads – the contest closes Jan. 1/13.  Pop on over if you’re interested!

20 thoughts on “Ho-Ho-Hum

  1. I agree. People need days off. If they don’t have to work on Christmas day and they could go home, they should. Oh, and I am very happy this was after 9am. I can compute that time (just).


  2. The year we moved to Canada, we all piled into the car to go to the mall on the day after Christmas. (We’d never heard of Boxing Day.) The sight of that empty parking lot was a shock to the nervous system. I couldn’t imagine what was going on. It was a Saturday. Eventually, we adjusted, but have noticed that gradually the everything-is-closed holidays are fading away. I think you’re right: someday, stores will be open on Christmas. And I guess we’ll get used to that, too.

    Happy New Year, Diane.


    • I’m sure the always-open shopping must be a huge boon to people who work shifts or other irregular hours, so probably my moment of peace would translate into annoying inconvenience for them. But as you say, in another few years, it’ll probably be moot anyway. And I’ll find myself shopping on Christmas Day, thinking, “My, isn’t this convenient.” 🙂

      Happy New Year to you, too, Charles!


  3. Yesterday as I was making my stuffing, I realized I was out of sage. Dressing with no sage? Yikes. My husband took off to see if something was open. The drugstore not far from us was, and they actually had sage. I told my husband I hoped he gave a very cheery ‘Merry Christmas’ to that poor employee. Thanks to her, my stuffing turned out tasty. I myself have put many hours into working on Christmas and other holidays, but one expects that in a hospital setting. One does not expect it for the poor gal at the drugstore. I dedicate my comment to her (and the other drugstore employees who might have been there). 🙂


  4. As much as I love Christmas Eve (our big party for family and friends) and Christmas Day (huge extended-family dinner at SIL’s house), I have to admit Boxing Day is my favorite. The house is a wreck, there are holiday goodies everywhere, and there is nothing I have to do except sit by the fire, surf the web, and read. I like to pretend all of the stores are still closed. Bliss. 🙂


    • Love it! Pretending the stores are still closed is an excellent strategy. And there’s nothing finer than an array of goodies and enough leftovers in the fridge so you can just graze all day without ever having to cook. Ahhhh…


    • And sometimes we need to be reminded to do it. It’s far too easy for me to tell myself “I’ll take a break later/tomorrow/next week when (fill in the blank) is done”. Of course, part of the problem is that I truly enjoy what I do.

      Oddly enough, I don’t have any difficulty taking a break from the things I don’t like doing. 🙂


  5. A belated Merry Christmas and may only good things come your way in 2013 Diane. We also pass on Boxing Day madness, however, nothing I’m sure is more scary than an empty mall parking lot to an economist . Cheers to Ikea for giving their employees two days off. We discovered this by accident on our way home from a family visit on Boxing Day last year, an “empty” Ikea parking lot is really eerie.


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