After a busy couple of weeks with real estate, we decided that it was time for some Christmas shopping. While we often hit the shops in Emerald Isle and Swansboro, it is hard to get serious about shopping on the Crystal Coast without heading to Morehead City.
Morehead City, often know as MHC, is where most of the shopping for the Southern Outer Banks is concentrated. If you want clothing and don't want the prices of specialty shops, Morehead City is the best choice. For electronics and a large selection of office supplies on the shelf, it is the only choice unless you want to tackle Jacksonville which most of us avoid even during the non-holiday season.
Holiday shopping is no longer a huge deal for my wife and myself. We have already delivered our granddaughter's holiday present, a small wooden table and four chairs. While there will be a few other things, two year olds don't need a lot to entertain themselves. We are into small practical gifts for the adults in the family, so we make strategic stops at a number of stores. My wife is good at picking up gifts all year long, so to a certain extent we are in clean up mode at this time of year.
We can actually be in Belks in MHC in about the same time, twenty minutes, that it used to take us to make it across the Roanoke Valley to Valley View Mall from our home on the mountain. Of course going to Valley View at Christmas is a whole lot easier than leaving Valley View at Christmas. I hope the traffic engineer for that mall is still an infinite loop someplace.
Holiday shopping traffic is a whole lot less stessful on the Crystal Coast than it is in the Roanoke Valley. While MHC does not have all the shops that you might find in Valley View Mall, that does not bother me.
I have been ignoring malls for years. In 2005 an abortive attempt at shopping in Tyson's Corner Mall sent me scurrying for Lexington, VA. Over the years I have done my shopping in Charlotteville, VA and even at the Homestead. One year, I did some shopping in Mount Airy, NC where our family lived for years. Another year I wandered off Interstate 81 and shopped at Wade's Mill. Even when I have shopped in Roanoke, I have managed to get most of my gifts without getting near a big mall.
Tuesday's shopping was a nice easy trip. In addition to my wife finding some clothes for Christmas at Belks, we managed a visit to a small kitchen store, Staples, and Harris Teeter for a few groceries. All my recent real estate clients have been hard on my ink jet printer supplies.
We squeezed in lunch at Tsunami, a Mongolian grill restaurant. While most of our shopping at Belks centered on finding an inexpensive gift for my two office parties, we did find a couple of things to stuff in stockings.
My wife and I will likely exchange very small presents as usual, and unless she gives me a suggestion or two, she might end up with presents from Northern Tool & Equipment again. I am easy, it you put a jar of Marmite in my stocking along with a bag of pistachios and a good small chocolate bar, I am a happy camper.
I think we are planning a late breakfast at Yana's in Swansboro later in the week. Then we will likely pick up a few gifts in the local shops. After that we will head over to Reel Outdoors in Emerald Isle for a Calcutta Shirt for our youngest daughter's partner. I might stop by Ace Hardware in Emerald Isle for a few last minute gift ideas. Some of those local Methodist Peanuts are always popular presents.
Being a guy at Christmas is actually pretty easy as long as you stay away from the big malls. Even today after my close encounter with all the folks in Belk's on senior day, I got to take a time out and visit one of the waterside parks in Morehead City. There is nothing like some water to freshen up your attitude on life.
It was a cold walk out on the dock, but it was better than being in a crowded department store, and I got to snap the picture that I used in this post. May your holiday shopping be as stress free as mine.