Good tidings of comfort and joy, yes! Good will towards men, of course. Peace on earth, pray for it. But, forgive us, we are who we are: Gift-giving — Aunt Martha’s keen eye, that tastefulness Sis has always shown, the kids’ delight in their presents — will end up as the unspoken measure of many a Ridgefield holiday.
That’s not what Christmas is really about, of course. Everyone knows it. And yet it is not the Prince of Peace most of us emulate, come December, but the sentimental spendthrift Scrooge, liberated from his penny-pinching by the holiday ghosts, giving away the Christmas goose.
Well, a soul could do worse.
And since a goodly portion of our Christmas spirit will be dedicated to buying gifts that somehow say what our hearts feel but our mouths find they cannot adequately speak, dedicated to — in a word — shopping, make that gift-buying not just an act of commercialism but an act of community.
Why? “It keeps the money in the local cycle,” said Chamber of Commerce Director Marion Roth. “It supports those who pay taxes here, and it supports the return-giving to nonprofits. And it provides jobs. Many of the people in the stores are from the local community.”
Shop Ridgefield. Why? It’s neighborly. Old-fashioned neighborly. “Stop in for a cocktail or a cup of coffee,” said jeweler BIll Craig. “Stop in and discover the shops. See what Ridgefield merchants have to offer.”
It’s not going to cost anything, really, because that money will be spent anyway. It’s a question of where. The obligation is not to spend every dime, buy every gift in Ridgefield. It’s to look here — look at home — first.
Ridgefield has a bookstore, a toy store, jewelry stores, fashion shops, a lingerie shop, a men’s shop, hardware stores, music stores, chocolate shops, spirit shops, antiques shops and consignment stores, an African import shop, a cupcake shop. … What else are you looking for?
Many of the stores have longer hours in December — they’re open later, they’ve added Thursday nights, Sundays. They’ve stocked up on specials and new goods — stuff you can pick up, hold in your hand, turn in the light before you buy it.
This is our town, your town, hung with greenery and turned out for the season in a thousand sparkling lights.