Wednesday, November 19, 2014

O Tis a Far, Far Better Thing

As you’ve been watching TV and reading newspapers, it can’t have escaped your notice based on the volume of advertising, that we’ve already entered the city limits of The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Please Observe Local Speed Limits).

I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling the Spirit of the Season when the marketing barrage got started in the run-up to Halloween but maybe that almost-snow last week, coupled with a sprinkling of holiday lights cheerily blinking in the dark as I head to work have helped me feel more festive.

For those who currently live or who have lived in my house, this is a BGO, blinding glimpse of the obvious: I am not a fan of shopping at any time of the year but especially now. If speed gift-buying is ever made an Olympic event, you will find me on the medals platform. Meanwhile those to whom I give presents will be opening horribly wrapped gift boxes with equal measures of fear and trepidation.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the holiday season but, possibly like you, I’m overwhelmed by the whole Schlep to the Mall and the hunting and gathering of presents that finds me instead of hoping for peace on earth and goodwill for all, wishing every person between me and the cashier would end up in a place so warm there’s no need for scarves or sweaters (especially that one).

I’m a shopper in need of the gift of patience and since I’ve yet to see it on the shelves or at Amazon, I’ve adopted a coping strategy that I hope you’ll consider my gift to you and a boon to downtown Norwich.

This Saturday from ten to three, it’s the sixth annual “O’tis A Festival At Otis Library.” If you haven’t been in the library since the renovations were completed earlier in the fall, you now have the perfect reason to go check them out.

And if you’re a competitive shopper who relishes the hunt for the just-right something for a Someone Special, Otis will be packed to the rafters with crafters offering a variety of handmade items, including jewelry, woodworking, and pottery along with events for children and those who are young at heart.

Downtown Norwich looks to Otis Library the way the fingers of the hand look to the thumb. Located practically in the geographic center, Otis is the heart of Down City and events like Saturday’s are an important part of its lifeblood.

Downtown Norwich is very compact with many of the shops, restaurants and scenic harbor locales all within easy walking distance of one other as well as to the free municipal parking that gets you step-for-step closer to it all than if you opted for The Mall. I’d recommend inviting someone who believes there’s nothing going on in Norwich and smile as they learn otherwise.

The O’tis Festival is a gift to ourselves. We talk about ‘shopping local.’
Here’s our chance to not only talk the talk but walk it. 
- bill kenny

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