Monday, December 16, 2013

Festive Shopping -- No, really!

Not quite so tired after a good night's sleep, but still conserving energy -- aiming it towards the shopping and the marking and, let's be honest, the festive activities including the meet-up I have planned for this afternoon with a few sisters, a few daughters, a niece, a daughter-in-law, and some glasses of bubbly. . . really hoping to score some seats by the lounge's cozy fireplace, but if not, we'll still be Awfully Festive!

Speaking of Festive, I did promise to expound a wee bit more on some of the ways I'm trying to manage that this season. An important strategy, one whose execution is so far working out very well, is that I decided to invite each of my (adult) kids to spend some time with me in the shops, with drinks or a meal folded in to the outing. In other years I've tried to surprise and while this occasionally yields wonderful results, it just as often ends in disappointment, waste, and the risk of hurt feelings. I've also, in the past, got a list of Wants, but then resentment creeps in as I try to find something that ticks all the boxes, spending hours on a search and still needing to hang on to the receipt in case I haven't got it right. Some of my chickies have even received gift certificates in the past, and while I know these are appreciated, I really feel as if I could just as easily write a cheque -- demeaning, somehow, to both of us, and yet so practical

So this year, I decided I would combine the practicality of the gift certificate with the wonderful feeling of giving a gift the recipient would have chosen for him/herself AND I would pull Festive more clearly into the picture by having the company of my gorgeous son, daughter, (and, this past Saturday, my lovely daughter-in-law). What fun to play Lady Bountiful with my magic credit card (poor thing's warping from the heat of overuse, but don't worry, I do pay off the balance each and every month!)

Saturday was the first test day for the new approach, and what a lovely afternoon and evening I had. Son, Daughter, Daughter-in-law and I took turns sitting outside change-rooms for the 3 of them to come out and show off potential new duds. My son benefitted by seeing a few things he could pick up for his wife; I think all 3 benefitted by having someone else suggesting a sweater or blouse or shirt they might not have picked up; and I benefitted most of all by having a Strong Young Son carry all the packages we walked out of J Crew and Club Monaco with.

Then we all repaired to a nearby lounge for martinis -- a splendid break and an absolute contribution to the Festive Spirit. Paul joined us for the drinks, and then we hugged Daughter good-bye and wandered, with Son and Daughter-in-law, back to our place to drop off the parcels, then across the bridge for a fabulous meal together at Maenam (Fusion Thai -- if you don't know this spot yet, it's well worth checking out, especially if you do as we did and order the Chef's Choice). A bottle of Moscati for more bubbly festive and we toasted the end of a lovely day and the best of the Christmas spirit really beginning to take hold.

Today, I did some solo shopping, and because I managed to get to the stores first thing (in fact, a lovely young SA let me into J Crew at 9:55, just before it opened, setting the mood for my day -- More Festive!), I quite enjoyed myself. Since then, I've spent a few hours marking, and I'm ready to head out soon for my Family Females Get Festive afternoon  (okay, we don't actually call it that . . . )
And in case you'd like a little What I Wore for all this Seasonal Happiness, here's the outfit I wore to lunch with my sister on Friday: a silk Club Monaco blouse (I was a bit nervous, I'll admit, pale pink silk and food?? not a good combination for this sometimes messy eater. . . .) with J Brand coated blank skinnies (I can't tell you how much I love these. But it's lots!) and J Crew patent flats, a pink cashmere scarf . . .
and my Mom's coat. It gives me great comfort, somehow, to wear her sartorial choice through the season. . . .
Tomorrow morning I'm meeting another Daughter for a morning of shopping, then I'll break for a few hours before meeting another one after work for shopping and dinner. Honestly, it's turned a chore into a delight --- have any of you tried this approach before? Would it work for you, or do you still love the element of surprise? Of course, if distance separates you, this strategy is useless,but if you have other secrets for making gift-ing less onerous, do share. And remember, Stay Festive (unless that word is driving you mad, which also seems entirely possible. In which case, please ignore and excuse. . . ;-)

23 comments:

  1. I'm fostering my festive spirit by sneaking online in the middle of the workday!
    I like your idea of spending the lovely time with grown children. It's something I started to do when the children were in about grade three - a day off from school, lunch and shopping just for them, one at a time. I haven't been able to do this with my son for many years because he lives in another province, but I treasure the dates with my daughter. I like to know that what I buy is really desired - and I have the treat of her company.
    Martinis - now there's something I'll have to suggest.

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    1. I love it! Festive indeed to grab a bit of blogworld during a workday.
      Your children must have loved having such a special day one-on-one with Mom.
      I ended up with a Negroni rather than a Martini, but I managed to steal a few sips from a daughter's, just enough. . . .

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  2. You've got a great system - how lovely it must be to feel festive this season! (Don't worry, I'm sure my festive vibe will return for next year - gotta hope.) Seems like you're making a very nice holiday time.

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    1. I'm not surprised your festive feelings have been dispelled. Besides having your mom's health on your mind, an over-busy work schedule is a big distraction. I suspect you will be back by next year -- I remember all the wonderful baking and wrapping and nomnom cooking you've done other years. . . .

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    2. I know! I'm not a humbug person, generally. Oh well...

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  3. I like your approach to shopping and socializing at the same time. It sounds like win win all around. Must say that your outfit looks very chic and I can understand the love of a great pair of jeans!
    I've never had a martini in the afternoon and think if I did I might be tempted to go a bit mad spending money....especially in Vancouver with all those high end shops.

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    1. Yes, the cocktail in the late afternoon should probably not be followed by any shopping. We just stayed put, and I stuck to wine. . . and, luckily, I'd turned off my shopping switch. ;-)

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  4. My gosh. I'm just noticing how slender you are:).

    And jealous that you had so many kids, if I'm honest.

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    1. I'm surprising myself with my size at the moment, but really, I'm only returning to where my body's meant to be. And honesty's welcome, in this case. . . . I do know how fortunate I am in my kids.

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  5. This sounds like a perfect way to enjoy your Christmas shopping! Our boys do not enjoy shopping, so I don't see this happening at all, at least perhaps until they acquire significant others!! Right now we rely on Amazon wish lists and the like.

    I'd also be a bit wary of such a lovely silk blouse at mealtime - I tend towards the messy as well. But - pale pink and black ... a lovely combination.

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    1. It's true that my son had a much tougher time than my daughter and daughter-in-law. We started with him, knowing his attention span was limited, and we did all his shopping in one shop.
      It is a great combination, isn't it? Worth risking a dry-cleaning bill for -- so far I've got 2 wearings out of it, and it's still unspotted. . . knock on wood!

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  6. I love the idea of an in-person gift shopping expedition! I think it's a great way to capture the spirit of the season. You look fabulous in that outfit, and very svelte too.

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    1. Thanks, Sue -- it was a festive shopping afternoon, and I'm hoping for another one today.

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  7. Oo-la-la, that outfit looks very French to me, not that I would have a clue what real France French looks like. But it fits my imagination very well. I'm glad you're turning what many regard as drudgery into an enjoyable event.

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    1. Merci, merci!
      I think it helps with the non-drudgery that I have not yet set foot in a mall. . . . And I'm parcelling it out so that I never try for more than two hours at a time. And good company!

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  8. Sounds like a fantastic idea - I might try it with my brother! Great outfit, I'm going to check out the J Brand jeans, quite fancy a pair myself.

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    1. They're surprisingly versatile for all their coating -- I'd feared they might be a bit too flash, but they seem just to read as crisp/sharp. The Citizens I tried were much more faux-leather, a bit plusher/thicker -- also cool, but I find these much more wearable for everyday edge.

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  9. I think one of the most essential aspects of aging is continuing to explore new ways to accomplish things. Your approach to this sounds great. I am home bound this year after foot surgery so I have had to content myself with finding new ways to internet shop combined with short trips to my favorite local stores when I have someone to drive. I would have disdained this approach in past years as being impersonal, but much has been fun and it is the best I can do! The tree is half trimmed, and we just decided to have a "finish the tree" party when the grown kids arrive tomorrow. Grading is done so that is a great relief!
    Lynn

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    1. Yes, this is exactly what I mean. In past years, I saw myself at times, I think, rather as the matriarch who had to keep traditions in play. Now, I'm looking ahead and envisioning the kids making their own traditions out of the old. It's quite wonderful watching them take on most of the holiday responsibilities and figuring how we can fit meaningfully into the new scenario.
      Take care with that foot -- healing goes so much more quickly if those first weeks are nurturing. . . Your tree-finishing party is a great approach. And so good to have the grading done -- I'm almost there myself!

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  10. I stumbled upon this approach and agree it's great for adult children. Both my sons said they wanted boots, and who can buy those without try-ons? So off we went to the shops and the pub.

    But for my son's sweetie, I have still indulged my love of a carefully chosen gift. Since I had no daughters, being able to buy for a female is such fun! And I do have her mother, who's become a friend, to check with before buying.

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    1. I have, actually, tried to buy one daughter boots in the past. Listened to all the details, spent a few hours searching, got as close as I could imagine and they still got returned. . . . so now, Togetherness Rules!
      But I'd be exactly the same as you, indulging in choosing a gift for your son's GF -- in fact, I did dash back in to add a surprise for my DIL's package.

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  11. What a great way to shop. I think I'll try this when mine are a bit older, although Kid 2 (13) might be ready (minus the martinis). Kid 1 is a surly 16-year-old boy who would probably rather DIE than go shopping with his middle-aged mum, so that might have to wait a few years. I feel a bit sad that this year has been such a non-Christmas for me because I usually love the lead-up with all the making and baking and decorating, etc ...

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    1. It would take more martinis than is safe for me to want to shop with a 16-year-old son, back in the day . . . I do hope that you manage to capture a bit of the season's joy, but it must be tough with family illness and unexpected travel jogging tight schedules out of whack. . .

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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