Choosing to go to the Tysons Corner shopping mall in northern Virginia on a Saturday afternoon in mid-December is an act of utter hope and optimism. Only the people who listen to Michael Buble’s Christmas on repeat every day can be so obnoxiously glass half full as to even imagine the trip is worth it!

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I don’t listen to Michael Buble on repeat. But I do listen to his songs once a day..sometimes twice an hour..you know, on occasion.

I went into the situation fully aware of the friendly warnings provided by the well-intentioned naysayers.

I knew it was going to take an hour to find a parking space in the parking garage. I knew it might even take an hour to find the parking garage (I’m terrible with GPS).

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I knew that once I actually got inside the mall (after dodging other drivers who wanted my coveted rectangle of parking garage real estate with unabashed desire totally inappropriate for the holiday season) it would be so hot and cramped with people that I would feel nauseous and claustrophobic in my heavy winter coat.

I knew that a quiet seating area in the mall would be as scarce as an ugly sweater in a thrift shop frequented by Macklemore.

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But l still went. With pleasure.

It seems the decision to go to Tysons Corner and be one with the massive crowds embodies the very essence of Christmas itself.

I had no illusions that my experience would be any different than anyone else’s. I anticipated the traffic, and the excruciating wait for a parking space. So, like everyone else who knew what they had signed up for, I turned up the holiday music in my car, sang along to Elvis’s “Blue Christmas”, and drove around in circles waiting for some kind soul with shopping bags to enter his or her car and begin to reverse so I could shout tasteful but effective joyful obscenities to myself (F— yeah! A parking space!) and claim my valuable piece of asphalt turf.

I entered the mall with buoyant spirits. And even as I soon found myself surrounded by swarms of people walking in all directions, I compartmentalized my inner Scrooge, and went my merry way traipsing through the mall. Capitalism at its finest.

It is a testament to the power of the human spirit that so many people were in good, festive moods at the Tysons Corner mall despite the traffic, the harrowing parking situation, and the rampant crowds.

After all, what would Santa do?

Santa would go to the Tysons Corner mall.

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