I always enjoy being a part of the Christmas shopping hustle and bustle but things seemed to have changed over the years.

I can remember going Christmas shopping with my mother and grandmother from the time I was a small girl.  We always shopped in our downtown.  There seemed to be so many stores to me.  I can still feel the chill of the cold air as we darted in and out of each store.  The snow was blowing in our face, Christmas music was playing over loud speakers on the street corners, and there were happy people every place. 
Each shop and department store had their windows beautifully decorated with lights and the moving, animated characters.  Looking back, I think I can identify with little Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” standing there mesmerized.
There was one large department store called “DILS” that was our favorite place to shop.  The elevator in this store was so beautiful that it could have been in a top hotel.  There was a lady that sat on a stool and operated it.  She was always dressed up. She announced each floor to the patrons.  I think that as a child I felt she must have had the most important job in the world.
dils, downtown parkersburg, christmas shopping
(picture from the internet, not taken by me)
In later years, Dils  Department store closed and became a conference center.  The building has been for sale for the past 10 years and I heard on our news this week that the building will be sold at auction in mid December.  I must admit that I cried.  
I remember that the stores all did free gift wrapping.  They also had the large shopping bags with handles to carry all of your treasures in.   In later years I remember that these bags were available to buy for 25 cents and then they totally disappeared.
Christmas shopping in our downtown always got me excited for the holidays. Everything felt right with the world.
In the early 1970’s our mall opened and the downtown area began to have less business, more stores were closing, and eventually it felt like a ghost town. 
I took a walk through our downtown last week and it made me feel nothing but sad.  Most of the businesses are law offices, some banks, and a couple coffee shops. There is a large building that is an insurance company.  There is minimal decorating for Christmas and looks so deserted.
downtown, christmas shoppingdowntown, christmas shoppingchristmas-shopping-memories
I have never like shopping at the mall and it does not give me the same kind of feelings that I had when I was Christmas shopping downtown.    
Now, so much of our Christmas shopping is done on-line.  It is much more convenient and easy, but the spirit of Christmas shopping is lost. 
The younger generations will never understand that special memory but I think that everyone in my age range will agree. 
I feel blessed to have these memories and am sad that modern technology has taken this away.


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  1. I can relate. Sadly a lot of the small towns have lost the down town businesses that used to make them so much fun. Christmas just isn’t quite the same.

  2. Best memories ever. Wish it was still like that. When we were little it seemed like a movie

    1. I know Teresa…I remember that one Christmas that mom worked at Murphy’s during the holidays. Dils..I am so sad that that store was ever closed.

  3. I haven’t thought of my own experience for years. It was so much like yours! Our big, beautiful store had an elegant escalator going right up the center. You could see the entire first floor, completely decorated, as you slowly rose. The second biggest store had a kids’ train attached to the ceiling in the lower level. It operated only at Christmas. That was a great little ride! I remember waiting “for ages” in line to see Santa. I still have the black and white photos that were taken of me and my sisters. I agree with you. How sad that our own children only knew malls and online shopping!

  4. Your article brought back many memories for me! We visited our grandmother in St. Louis every year at Christmas and she always took us downtown to look in the store windows. The beautiful animated displays were such a treat. I haven’t seen anything like that in many years; very sad! I agree, mall shopping is just not the same experience. Thank you for sharing and bringing back that memory! I saw this link on the Grand Social.

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