Porch pirates. Package thieves. Hijackers. No matter what we call them –I’m partial to “jerks” – the people who come up to our houses and brazenly take what’s not theirs are holiday spoilers. In fact, more than 25 million Americans have been the victims of a holiday package robbery, an increase from 23.5 million porch thefts reported in 2015.
And whether it’s that once-in-a-lifetime gift, a trove of stocking stuffers, or a box of handmade goodies lovingly prepared by one family member for another, the loss is sure to provoke some helpless rage. Some people now ship packages to their work addresses or to neighbors who are home during the day, to foil these robbers.
I admit that I personally have embraced the online shopping experience. Yet, even though I track my packages scrupulously from shipment to delivery, I worry that they could disappear before I’m able retrieve them.
As the 10th Christmas since we lost my mom approaches, my sister and I have been reminiscing about her and our family, and the holidays we’ve spent in each other’s company. These memories can never be taken away. That’s why time spent together – with family, with neighbors and coworkers, with friends old and new – is my priority, and why I’ve decided on presents this year that can’t be stolen. (Note: Family members, stop reading now.)
Here are some of my favorite ideas:
Take the train to the Glenwood Hot Springs. My first such trip included breakfast with a view, back flips off the diving board into the mist below, snowflakes in my frozen curls while lounging in the pool, and a herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep on the sidewalk outside the hotel. The train ride along the Colorado River in winter is as magical as you might imagine.
Give the gift of personal comfort. Consider massages, facials, manicures and pedicures … and don’t leave out the men on your list, no matter how reluctant they might seem at first. (Tip: schedule one for yourself at the same time.)
Go for great art. We are fortunate to be surrounded by museums and galleries with intriguing exhibitions, by top-talent local music, and by world-class performances at a variety of theaters. Don’t hesitate to air your own talents, either, at, say, karaoke parties or cocktails and canvas celebrations.
Try a twist on the “dinner-and-a-movie” night out. What with DVDs and streaming services these days, you don’t have to leave home to see a great film. Add a home-cooked meal – whether it’s a tried-and-true favorite or a first-ever adventure – and you definitely have a memory in the making, especially if you prepare dinner together. Think movie and lunch or brunch, too, for something more unexpected.
Learn something new together. What better way to spend quality time? Family, if you didn’t actually stop reading, my choices would be cooking, golf, a new language, drawing or painting, or … surprise me!
In the end, and especially because we’ve agreed among us to be “reasonable” with our gift-giving this year, I’m not giving porch-pirating, package-thieving, or hijacking much of a chance to steal my Christmas memories or those of my family and friends.
Andrea Doray is a writer who remembers a family holiday when there was a mouse stirring … straight up the trunk of the Christmas tree! Contact Andrea at email@example.com with your favorite memories.
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