The smell of a peppermint scented candle. The sound of bickering relatives. The sight of holiday lights strung around the tree. The taste of hot buttered rum. The feel of your plastic credit card between your fingers as you use it for that crucial last minute purchase.

Can it really be happening already?

It seems like we was just biting into our first juicy peach and now the winter holidays are barrelling toward us. No matter how tightly we close my eyes, cover my ears and duck the head, that four letter word creeps into our life. It’s time to SHOP.

When did everything become so rushed?

We remember November and December as wonderful months. The days grew cold and crisp. The leaves fell onto the ground. We sat by the fire after dinner, watching TV, as a family.

And the word shopping meant grabbing our coats, piling into the car and driving to the mall. A place where my senses would come alive with the surroundings.

No so anymore.

With the invention of the internet, shopping has changed drastically. Online sites offer better bargains, no waiting in lines, and no confrontations with angry shoppers. This is all very well and good. And I do my fair share of online shopping, but my senses are paying the price.

Instead of seeing life-like mannequins, we stare at clothes and shoes and purses inside little boxes lined up neatly on my computer screen. Cyber lights blink on and off in the borders with the intention of giving me that holiday spirit. But more often than not, they give me a headache.

We used to love to touch the merchandise. A soft cashmere sweater for mom. Fuzzy socks for daughter. We loved flipping through the pages of a book. And running our fingers over a shiny cover. Now we touch my keyboard and scratch the head.

After prolonged shopping sessions with my computer, the only thing I can smell is myself. I get so wrapped up in the wanting to finish that I sometimes forget to shower.

Online shopping doesn’t require much grooming. It doesn’t require interaction with real-live people. And after a while, it drives me senseless.

Sure, there are good bargains and no crowds, but something is missing: good old-fashioned holiday camaraderie.

Happy Shopping to all!