I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with friends and family, and is looking forward to a great 2020.
Every year, I joke that my New Year’s resolution is to point out to others how they can be doing better, because it’s so much easier than fixing my own flaws. Also, I find it difficult to begin changes on Jan. 1. Instead, I tend to fall into the Chinese New Year cycle, starting changes around the end of January. I need to ease into the new year.
But before I start mapping out my 2020 resolutions I’d like to make a suggestion for Cullman in 2020.
A friend came to visit last weekend. I was excited to show off Cullman to her; I’d been telling her great things about my new city, plus it gave me an excuse to do some things I hadn’t had a chance to do yet.
She got here Friday afternoon and we headed downtown. Since moving here, I’ve been putting in long hours and hadn’t really had the time to get into the shops. The window displays had been tempting me, and I was anticipating finally getting to move beyond the windows and into the shops themselves. So imagine my dismay when many of the stores downtown were closed at 5 p.m.
It was the Friday before Christmas and the stores were closed at 5 p.m. Even on a normal, non-holiday shopping weekend, that seemed early to me. Most people don’t get off work before 5 p.m., so how are they able to get to the stores before they close?
I am a big proponent of shopping local. I love the unique items you can find in smaller shops, the clothes that are not the same things you can find in every big box store and online and the conversations with shop owners about the items they love. I have a lot of respect and admiration for local business owners who are going up against big-name retailers and online shopping. I want to support them. I want to shop there. But it’s hard to do that when they’re closed by the time most people get off work.
In the shops that were open, we found treasures. My friend from Atlanta was excited to find the perfect pair of shoes for her New Year’s Eve plans and several new shirts. I think we bought something in every store we went in. Not because we wanted to financially support their decisions to stay open later (although we do), but because they had great merchandise, the type of things you can’t find in the chain stores.
It was also fun to show off the Christmas lights and holiday decorations, including the German Christmas Pyramid, unique to Cullman. Before she left the next morning, we visited the Ava Maria Grotto and were both amazed. Cullman left a good impression on my friend. She’ll be back. And when she is, I hope there will be more shops staying open a little bit later.