Remember how the first Christmas story started with a journey? Everybody had to go back to the town of their birth, it seems, to be counted in Caesar’s census.

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.

This brings us to Bethlehem. And yet the story goes on from there, all through history, such that when we celebrate Christmas, most of us think of home, wherever that may be.

In the year that’s nearing its close, some might feel they’ve seen a little too much of home, after health precautions kept us pretty close to there, more than we can ever remember. It’s not that version of home that calls to us, though, when the Christmas season is here.

This is a time for the home we feel in our hearts, where everyone we love is included, no matter where they might be just now.

To Give and to Receive

That’s why this Christmas – possibly more than ever before – a lot of us are shopping in our hometown stores. It seems like a way of giving back to our homes, by doing business with those local merchants who risk so much, who stake their family’s future on the role they play in making this a community.

If convenience alone were the measure, nobody would have to go out the front door anymore. A few clicks, a successful remembering of what password you gave a particular site, some credit card digits, and whoosh. A package will be delivered to your loved one – by somebody you probably don’t know.

A friend’s grandchild said his choice for Halloween costume last October was either going to be blue or brown – a Post Office or a UPS delivery person. Says something we’re not entirely glad to hear, when a four-year-old thinks the bringer of good things is somebody unrelated.

A More Personal Kind of Christmas

So, yes, if convenience and selection are the only measurements, then shopping at all can be avoided. But if you want to kindle the feelings that most of us seek during the holidays, Christmas shopping is more personal.

Here among The Shops at Sea Pines Center, our Christmas tree lighting takes place this week. It’s a special approach to our First Thursdays Art Market that dials up the art, the music, the refreshments, and the charity benefit to special Christmas proportions. If you can join us then, or anytime in the preparations for the season of giving that follows, you’ll be taking an active part in bringing Christmas home.

For all we appreciate about our community, our home, or our favorite home away from home (on America’s favorite island), we encourage our friends to shop local, especially this year. You can be sure you’re welcome here.