Americans are hitting stores big time—brick and mortar and online–this holiday season. Indeed, after surveying 7,313 adults, the National Retail Federation finds that we’re going to spend a whopping $720.89 billion on everything from Christmas gifts and decorations to travel. That comes to about $1,007.24 for each of us, up 4.1% from 2017’s $967.13.

In fact, we’re shelling out $29.9 billion just for gift cards–an item that appears on 60% of wish lists.

On Cyber Monday alone, we spent about $7.8 billion, up 18.3% from last year; $1 billion of it was just for smartphones! Couldn’t be easier or faster, right? But hold on…

Writes USA Today editorial board member Dan Carney, “Online… said shopper clicks. And like that, it is over. This hardly qualifies as shopping. This hardly qualifies for thinking.”

And so he reminds us: “There is no denying that people love going to stores. Actual shopping remains an important part of the holiday ritual for millions of Americans. To many, it’s the difference between playing a sport and playing a video game.”

Bottom line: However you do your shopping, give thanks for your blessings, spend thoughtfully, treat yourself to a little something, too, and have yourself a wonderful Christmas and 2019.

With my many thanks and happiness wishes, Carol