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Reclaiming the Joy of Shopping When You Love Amazon

This picture was taken by Keith Wessel during the
Jam On Johnson on Friday, Nov. 14th.
Used with permission. See more of his photos here.

I think I might like to try Christmas shopping this year.

Maybe it was the charming village-esque street lamps now flanking East Johnson Street. The mood in the neighborhood during the Jam On Johnson was decidedly quaint. Chatting with people in good spirits, sipping wine, casually moving from shop to shop, I felt contentedly warm despite the wintry weather.

I'm pretty sure I've never shopped for Christmas in that nostalgic way. But I have the solid sense that Christmas shopping was once a pleasant afternoon spent searching cozy stores for perfect gifts to surprise everyone on the list. Probably the list was reviewed over a hot chocolate in a cafe where everyone else was not sitting alone behind a computer screen. Seasonal gratitude would allow you to put a half-penny in the old beggar's hat. Etc.

My own life resembles the Portlandia sketch where a package arrives, Fred asks Carrie what she ordered and she cannot remember, though she notes every day feels like Christmas. [Season 4, Episode 9] Santa is concerned about what this phenomena is doing to the season.

We get boxes pretty often. I feel lucky about it: Instead of dragging my young kids through stores, I have my Amazon Subscription set so the dish detergent, toilet paper, and multi-vitamins show up on a schedule.

Just this week, a new mattress pad came in a big box. It was the wrong size, not what I'd ordered. A chat with Akshaya V. assured me not to worry. My account was in that moment credited and I could simply print out the attached return info. A UPS truck would pick the box up from my porch in the next day or two. The driver would have the right label for my box, no charge to me.

It's so handy for a mom. For anyone, really.

But this year, I've made my list and I'm going to shop. Clicking and shipping are for the other 11 months of the year.

I'm going to do it on East Johnson Street, to the extent possible, and I'm going to enjoy myself. So if a few folks get rocks, literally, it's because I may indulge my whim a little in Burnie's Rock Shop.

Other ideas for gifts to be found at East Johnson businesses:
  • Yoga or Chiropractic gift certificates
  • Small-batch coffee 
  • Funky belts, purses, t-shirts, etc.
  • Aveda and other pampering products
  • Art, photography, ceramics, and other objects made by local artists
  • Unique and stylish home decor
  • Beautifully feminine fashion and luxurious jewelry
  • Doggie delights
  • Bike accessories
  • Restaurant gift certificates
  • Musical instruments and such
  • Rocks, fossils, and treasures
The range of businesses on East Johnson is impressive. Now that I've made my list, however, I realize a few additional shops would serve me well. For example, it would be nice to be able to find things for my kids, like books, clothes or toys.  I wouldn't mind a place to buy fancy chocolate, either.

I do hope to run into my neighbors while I'm out and about. 

Thanks to all those who organized the Jam On Johnson! 

These photos from the construction were on view during Jam On Johnson at U Frame It. A sign invited folks to take pictures home, which I did. I'm sorry I didn't notice the photographers name. If you know who took these pictures, please let me know and say 'thank you' on my behalf!


  1. Great post, Jessica. I used to think of E. Johnson as a byway not destination. But the year's big dig and Turn on Johnson changed my that for me.

    Good for you on the "holiday shop local" strategy! Your family will receive more meaningful gifts. Any returns won't need a label or a big brown truck - just a walk down the block. Happy shopping!

  2. Great post! And the dollar does go much farther when you buy local! I too buy a lot online, and this year, I think even if I have to shop a chain store, at least there are local jobs in that store, and the building is being maintained by local people. When I was a kid, and I predate the internet, I loved the old downtown because they would decorate the light polls for Christmas. I wonder if we could do that on Johnson Street!

    1. Oooh, that is a beautiful vision. I wonder if the new Business Association would be up for it?