There are some things …

… I simply do not do. I don’t intentionally smash my thumb with a hammer. I don’t intentionally bang my head against a wall. I don’t intentionally stab myself in the eye with an ice pick. I avoid stubbing my toe in the dark at all costs. Perhaps that is why I refuse to crawl out of bed at 3 a.m., dress in umpteen layers of winter apparel, stumble through darkness to my freezing vehicle so I can stand in line in the snow on black Friday and then push past other shoppers in a mad rush to purchase the latest and greatest gizmo recommended by so-called marketing experts.

But that’s just me.

Lots of people, maybe even you, think it’s a blast. I can see how it might be fun … if you loved shopping and weren’t on a do or die mission for the country’s most popular toy. If you’re planning a midnight or pre-dawn expedition, have a blast! Be merry and cheery and bright!

A unique shopping excursion
When you’re done, consider this idea: head to Carroll County … specifically, the Augusta area. Stop off first at Manfull Orchards in Augusta. Fresh baked pies and breads, apple butter, cider and a quaint gift shop—in addition to locally grown sweet, juicy apples—will please your overloaded senses. Then head south on Andora Road to Farmgirl Finds. The long lane will transport you to another time and a shop filled with rustic antiques, primitive treasures, homestyle Christmas decor, fragrant candles and gifts for everyone on your list. Next stop? Continue south on Andora to Weaver’s General Store. This Amish-run store is filled with overstocks from Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Target and Wal-Mart. It’s unique. It’s economical. And there’s no other place like it!

Turn around and head north on Andora. Turn left on Rush Road. Hilltop Bulk Food Store has all the ingredients you need for holiday baking. When you’ve stocked your pantry, continue north on Rush, then left on Arbor to Stillfork Variety Store. This shop offers housewares, childrens’ toys and surplus grocery items for the bargain shopper. Arbor continues back to State Route 9. If you’re in the market for leather goods or boots, continue on Arbor to Shetlar’s Harness Shop. If not, turn south and head into Carrollton for unique shopping and eateries in town.

I promise: no long lines, ample parking and beautiful, scenic countryside on meandering country roads (all within a five-mile radius). Just last week a customer came into Farmgirl Finds and said, “I haven’t felt much like Christmas until this point. But driving up your lane, walking into your shop … oh! It just feels like the Christmas spirit has arrived.”

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