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City sidewalks, local sidewalks make for festive shopping

Let’s be honest. Christmas shopping is not necessarily easy.

Oh, it starts out great if you get at it early enough. But once the pressure is on, or you’re looking for one particular item (think Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Jingle All the Way”), the magic is over and it’s an all-out frenetic race to the finish.

But it doesn’t have to be.

This year, I am determined to enjoy the Christmas shopping season, and even more, purchase gifts in small, local businesses – and to the extent possible – buy local products.

And it hasn’t been as hard as you might think. So far, at least it’s been fun. Festive. Dare I say, magical.

Take last Saturday for example.

Christmas shoppers packed Johnson Bros. Jewelry Company, a longtime downtown Pascagoula business. A friend had told me I should check it out for gifts, and she was right. They have a lot of beautiful things – lots of jewelry, but much more than that. I left with several beautifully wrapped gifts, each selected with care and consideration, and just right for the intended.

At Coast Clothing down Delmas Avenue, I left with another bright Christmas gift bag with curly ribbons tied in a bow holding carefully chosen clothing items (I don’t want to get more specific, they’re not gonna be opened until Dec. 25, after all). And I had an attentive saleswoman help me make sure the size was correct.

Small shops in the Cottages at Anchor Square on the west end of Delmas have their own selections – olive and grapeseed oils, praline sauce, cookie mixes, fancy teas and coffees, cheesestraws (I’m getting hungry). But it’s not all food.

There’s college-themed bags and coffee mugs, aprons with designs by a South Mississippi artist, a plethora of jewelry and more.

And my gifts are already wrapped – thanks to attentive proprietors and dedicated clerks who seek to make each selection as special as the person who will open it on Christmas morning.

Shops are dressed in holiday style, playing Christmas music, offering hot chocolate or spiced tea, and you're greeting people you pass by with smiles and “Merry Christmas.” For me, it's been a relaxing, enjoyable shopping season so far.

So, I’m looking forward to another weekend of browsing and buying in locally-owned shops with locally-made products. And more happy greetings.