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Positively Speaking: New approach to holiday shopping


By Toby Moore

For Capital Region Independent Media

Toby Moore

I took a new approach to holiday shopping this year and purchased everything online. I have become accustomed to online shopping through the years, but I embraced it entirely this Christmas.

In years past, I would’ve driven to the mall, anxiously walked from store to store to wait in line to buy something, and rushed to the next store to repeat the process.

Before leaving the mall, visiting the volunteer Christmas wrappers was always crucial! I never learned how to wrap a gift correctly. Every time I wrap something, it doesn’t look right. The assistance of volunteer gift wrappers always made me feel better about my gifts.

This year I did everything from my smartphone! Instead of driving from store to store, I went from website to website. I’d love to tell you that I hated ruining my holiday tradition, but in a way, online shopping made the season that much more magical!

There is only one problem — I felt uncomfortable bringing my gifts to volunteer wrappers at the mall because I didn’t purchase my gifts there. This year, I had to hide my gifts behind the other presents under the tree and hoped nobody noticed. I’ve made the decision that I must change my ways and become a better gift wrapper.

Something about the holidays inspires change in people’s behavior. Not only do we put up the lights, play the music, and buy gifts, but right after the holiday, we’ve created a New Year’s resolutions tradition, the idea that we can change.

My family had the yearly tradition of driving into the city to watch the live production of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, one of the greatest Christmas stories of all time. I love this story because it demonstrates, in a dramatic fashion, how it’s never too late to change.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a rich, bitter older man who has forsaken love in his earlier years in the pursuit of money. The story begins when Scrooge declines the invitation to spend Christmas with his nephew Fred. “Bah, Humbug!” Scrooge shouted in response to the invitation, declaring his belief that Christmas was a fraud!

I’d like to know if he declined because he genuinely hated Christmas or if his nephew’s gift didn’t arrive on time like mine, and he was just embarrassed to show up without a gift!

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case because Ebenezer never took the time to appreciate the people in his life; he only cared about what he could take from them. His employee, Bob Crachit, worked under oppressive conditions so Scrooge could make more money.

One Christmas Eve, Ebenezer was visited rather ominously by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who wanders through eternity, wailing and wrapped in heavy chains because of his life of selfishness and greed. He arrived with a warning: Ebenezer would be visited by three ghosts this Christmas night, and if he didn’t do what they said, he’d be cast into an eternity worse than Marley’s.

In the hours after Jacob’s visit, Ebenezer met the first ghost, The Ghost of Christmas Past. The Ghost of Christmas Past swept Ebenezer back in time to observe the selfish decisions of his youth. Ebenezer saw how he used to be innocent as a boy but had become a monster in his old age.

The ghost of Christmas Present arrived to find Ebenezer terrified and hiding under his sheets. He showed him many Christmas celebrations, allowing Ebenezer to hear the conversations of what people thought of him. He discovered he was a hated man.

The ghost of Christmas Future showed Ebenezer a future vision of his funeral where the attendees only came on the condition of a free lunch.

A panic-stricken Scrooge begs the ghost for one more chance, deciding he must change his ways and become a joyful and happier person.

Happy holidays! Remember, like Scrooge, whether you need to change your life, change how you treat others, or change into a better gift wrapper, doing so is only one decision away!

Toby Moore is a columnist, the star of Emmy-nominated “A Separate Peace,” and the CEO of Cubestream Inc.

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