I don't do much of it, but I have to admit, the few times I do venture out this time of year to pick up a few things can be kind of fun. The secret is in the timing. All (or most) of the stores open quite early this time of year so I go early before the crowds. I particularly love how the stores are decorated... but I noticed today that even most of the shoppers are decorated too. I saw several festive, holiday sweaters and lapel pins depicting scenes of the season and I had to smile. Even with all of the added stress and chaos, people in general do try harder to be a little more kind to strangers... and that's always a good thing.