Holidazzle Shopping: Finding the Perfect Gift -
The best part of living in a small town, I think, is that you really get to know the shop owners of the area. I take every opportunity to talk to them (sometimes whether they want me to or not) and to find out what their specialties are, and in return I’ve made some real friends. When Holidazzle blows into downtown Beloit every year, I get the opportunity to know some crafters and artists from the area as well.
I was on the prowl for a gift for someone who didn’t get to be home for Christmas but was instead stuck in the hospital for the holiday. Thank heavens for the doctors, nurses and other caregivers who take care of us at such times, but I can’t think of a less joyful place to spend December. I just hoped I could find something which, unlike the gifts of the Magi, could be used and appreciated by the recipient.
A portal to Christmases of the past
I started my magi-esanic journey at the far east end of Grand, since that’s where I live. My walk took me right past the newly-open Vintage Bliss. While not officially on the Holidazzle route, Kristy and Rob decided to stay open late to give their shop some exposure. The phrase heard most often in this co-op has to be “I remember those!” Christmas decorations and home decor from the 20th century crowd every possible horizontal surface, and many of the vertical ones as well.
A How-To of Holidazzle
One must pace oneself at Holidazzle. Not because of the shopping. It’s the food. And the wine; oh, Lord, the wine. A small half-glass is nothing. However, nearly every shop I entered had tastings and samples. I was careful, as I didn’t particularly care for the thought of a snow-plow shoving my passed-out carcass into the gutter. Shopping became more and more of a surreal experience. From The Nest Egg down to the multitude of shops at State and Grand, I must have searched every store for the perfect gift.
Caroling and cookies
I took the opportunity to stay out in the fresh air and watched a group of carolers gather a crowd on State Street. They sounded beautiful, with a nice tight harmony on the traditional carols. I half-expected to look up and see a small boy with a crutch perched on his father’s shoulder. Across the street, children were gleefully decorating Christmas cookies at Bagels & More. A tiny blonde girl, barely tall enough to reach the table, wrestled with a pastry bag the size of her head.
Finally, at The Villager on Grand, I found my prey, circled the other lions casually so as not to alert them, and pounced. A book, of course, but one written by a local Beloiter. The subject of the book, faith, seemed ready-made for the season. Upstairs, I was able to score a matching bookmark from one of the crafters being sponsored by The Villager. I was tempted to keep both myself and buy something else for the hospital-bound, but my nobler nature prevailed. However, the picture is here…just in case someone I know still hasn’t found a gift for me…