25 Days of Christmas, Day 19: My grudge against malls

Nothing.  I feel like I’ve got nothing for you.  I ran errands and even bought a few gifts – or at least worked to track down sources for them – but somehow it feels like we did nothing Christmas related today.  I even went to the (gasp!) mall.  That’s a great place to boost your Christmas spirit, right?  NO.  Have I ever mentioned I hate malls?  I have a story that may explain why I hate malls, and it may also be connected to my general dislike for the hustle and bustle of the modern commercial Christmas.

Actually it’s not really a story.  It’s more of a bad memory and a complaint all wrapped up in bad attitude.  It’s just this: one year when we were in Tennessee visiting my in-laws, we all decided it would be great fun to go to the enormously popular Opryland Mall on Black Friday.  Well, it would be more accurate to say that everyone else arrived at that decision and I agreed to tag along.  Back then we had 6 kids, ages 8 and under.  So we went and wove our way through the crush of bodies, and everyone else had fun while I experienced 5 solid hours of panic just trying to keep track of my children in a strange city.  The other four blissfully oblivious adults in our party were spread among the teeming waves of total strangers who physically pressed upon all of us, and I lost my six children at least 57 times as they were casually passed back and forth, slipping through little gaps in the crush where I could not follow.




In my own version, they didn’t just escape or get swept away in the current.  They were sent, while I stood 30 bodies behind, helplessly fighting to get to them.  “Oh, look!  There’s Grandpa! Don’t you want to go with him?”  “Hey, is that your dad over way over there?  Go tell him I’m looking for him.”  Did it really happen that way?  I don’t know, but I was amazed at the end of the day to find all my children accounted for, and everyone staring at me like was the crazy one.

And now I shall hate malls forevermore.  I even dislike empty, quiet malls, late on weeknights just before they close, but I nurse a special grudge for crowded malls during the holiday season when human traffic is so heavy that all you can do is move with the current.  In my defense, I usually breathe a sigh of relief after visiting a mall and tell myself it wasn’t as bad as I expected.  But you could never pay me enough to go back to Opryland Mall on Black Friday.  I would shave my head for a million dollars in a heartbeat, but don’t ask me if I would go back to that mall on that day.

On a more cheerful note, my phone has an alarm that goes off every morning at 10 o’clock, playing the alto part of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  This is so that the girls and I can remember to practice daily.  When we hear it, we all stop whatever we’re doing and sing along.  Then at 10:05, another alarm plays the full 4-part harmony so that we can practice finding and singing our own part while it’s fresh in our heads and ears.

Since anyone can sing soprano, the girls and I sing alto, Perry sings bass, and Deanna practices tenor with her husband, we could technically sing in 4 part harmony just with our own family members.  I really want to give it a try!

Has anyone in your family learned to sing in harmony? How do you feel about insanely crowded shopping malls or other public places?


  1. When we got old enough, my Dad made my sister, brother and I learn parts. There were some tears, at first, but we are all so grateful now! We would do acapella specials at church: I’d sing alto (which I learned from Mom), brother would sing bass (he learned from Dad), and sister would sing soprano since her voice was higher. =) Since Mom taught me how to read music and sing in parts, I can now pick out other harmonies too. One commenter said she’s too high to sing alto. Try a high tenor. It sounds beautiful! And, there are usually very few people who sing tenor. =)

    Malls? Who has time to go to the mall?! 😉 I do our Christmas shopping online. I know, I cheat. =)

  2. I dislike shopping in general. I once went to a mall on Black Friday and, just like my trip to Times Square for New Year’s Eve, I vowed “never again!” I like browsing in a bookstore if I’m alone, but I prefer a library. For the new year, I think I’m going to try Amazon subscription orders in order to avoid some shopping tasks. Thank you for the info about them in the sidebar widget.

  3. I love the mall! Weird I know. Although I will admit it can be stressful with kids when it is busy. I use the mall for “shopping behaviour” training. (I have 7 kids aged 5 and under). we go at 10 in the morning on a week day when know one is there and practice/teach things like walking next to the stroller, waiting paciently while mommy looks at something and getting in and out of the car. I find it helpful to teach these skills when I don’t actually have anything to buy. Then at the end they get to play on the indoor playland.

    • Gwenlynn, I used to love the mall and took all my little ones there on quiet weekday outings, just like you. I think the trip I described is when I changed, although I only recently realized it. I was always fine taking a bunch of little ones when I was the only adult, but with more adults it’s so easy for everyone to get distracted that in the end NO ONE KNOWS who is watching which children, which really means no one is.

      • This is so true! Funny, you would think more adults would be easier but I too have experienced that outing where the adults outnumber the kids but you still manage to loose the 18 month old. It would scar anyone for life. I am kinda new to your blog but I have really been enjoying it. It is always nice to hear from someone a little farther down the road from you.

  4. In our family we have about three people who can’t carry a tune; two who can but don’t have any interest in harmonizing, and five who can and will. So we get along pretty well. Those who can’t carry a tune or don’t care sing soprano, my mother and six year old brother sing alto, my eleven year old brother sings tenor, my fourteen year old brother sings bass and me, well, I would love to sing parts but I can’t even get it down low enough to sing alto so, I HAVE to sing soprano. But I content myself by singing the loudest!
    As for malls, I don’t mind them; as for crowded malls, they frustrate me extremely fast!

  5. My distaste for Malls is large, mostly because they make me realize all the things in life I didn’t know I needed. Suddenly I NEED new clothes and pans and books and…aaaagh!!! But I do find it helpful to go to a mall about once a year so that my poor, unsocialized kids can see what the real world looks like. It’s always our most educational field trip. 😉

  6. Growing up, “no one could carry a tune”. Then we siblings married and in our own homes since the children were little we have sung hymns together every Sunday and the children learned music through piano and other instruments. Every other year the community chorale sings The Messiah. It’s led by the community college music director. Our children sang with them this year-even my 14year old son. My husband also-a children father activity. It was a wonderful experience. I like shopping malls. However, since I grew up over seas I’m not used to shopping that way and since I now live in a small town with no mall and have fun shopping at the goodwill and st.vincent…….it’s all good. Except. Boys’ clothes. Not that snazzy at thrift stores. But the mall. We have to travel an hour to get to one and are quite content with local shopping. But it was fun to be at a mall the other day and see a snazzy clothing store for men and go in and indulge in some style for my 16yr old son. Thanks for the postings, Kim, and have a wonderful Friday.

  7. MotherLydia says:

    I loved Opryland. I’ve got a grudge against the Mall for taking it over!

  8. I used to live in Nashville and LOVE the Opryland Mall, but like you, I would NEVER go there (or any retail place anywhere) on Black Friday. I’ll stay home with leftover pie and turkey and put up a Christmas tree or play games with the family.

  9. I hate malls and I hate WalMart. A touch agoraphobic as well as a general distaste for shopping period

  10. I have wonderful memories of learning alto and tenor from my Mom as we sang with my sister going down the road. My daughter and son (who at 9 takes the lead and does a good job of not getting confused with all of the “parts” around him) are carrying on the tradition as we sing to music around the house and in the car. 🙂

  11. The shopping maul? No thanks. if it isn’t homemade, Amazon prime is my best friend. ;D And my family can only sing in harmony if Monotone is one of the parts. *sigh* But we try 😀

    Merry Christmas!


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