The Event Planner

An Essay by Maxine Shear – Lodi, CA

The email states:  comfortable shoes, gloves to ward off the cold and as many large, recyclable shopping bags as you can find.  The limo driver has been given a must have list of coffee, orange juice and energy bars.  The pick ups will begin pre-dawn.  Our first stop will be the local big box store.  I’m sure we will be sharing space in line with at least a hundred other shopping enthusiasts.  After that it is off to the mall.  Who cares if your naughty or nice it’s time to shop until you drop.  Let the Christmas frenzy begin!

This scenario might sound familiar as we approach the infamous “Black Friday.”  Ok maybe not the limo ride but perhaps a designated driver with a full gas tank, a willingness to provide curb side pick up, help maximize the capacity and loading of the bounty and definitely master time efficiency and correct money exchange for the drive through.  Being able to nap in the car while the others shop is a huge bonus as well!

This year I think I will mix things up and plan an event the others will be amazed at.  Maybe this will start a new tradition!  The email states:  wear comfortable shoes and bring an open mind for a true holiday experience.  Although I have still enlisted a designated driver, me, pick ups will start mid morning.  We will begin our day at a local restaurant for breakfast.  From there we will stroll through the local shops to find something personal as that must have gift.  Many local crafts people have extraordinary skills to provide limitless treasures.  Maybe the car enthusiast would enjoy a gift certificate from the local car wash and detailing business.  The community center offers theater and concert tickets.  Whose mom wouldn’t love to have a local cleaning lady come for a day?  How many people could use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the local working guy?  What about a computer tune up by the local PC whiz trying to get that business up and running?  Local beauty salons and spas, now we’re talking!  After the shopping lists begin to dwindle, it’s an early dinner at a local hot spot to reflect on our success.  Perhaps a gift certificate or two will be added as we depart.  The last item on the agenda is a stop at the local grocery store to purchase turkeys.  We’ll drop them off at the local charity who will distribute them throughout our community to help those in need.  The day is complete!

As the holidays approach, let’s first remember that valuing our friendships and loved ones is the most important gift we can give.  Yet, we can also contribute to the well being of our home town friends and neighbors by supporting the local businesses that make our lives more enjoyable.  Encouraging small businesses show that we care about our communities.

There’s no need for an event planner or a designated day of shopping to make meaningful choices.  So think outside the box, try skipping the large chain stores, buy made in America items and shop locally.   That effort comes back to us in ways we can’t imagine. Enjoy your holiday shopping this year and that warm fuzzy feeling?  That’s what happens when you rediscover the wonders of the season and the true meaning of giving.

About LODI360 Editor

Keith Colgan is the Editor of and owner of Keith Colgan Photography


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