CHRISTMAS SHOPPING, IDEAS, LIST, ONLINE, STORES: I wish you a merry gift buying spree!*

Vol. 2,  No. 28, December 3, 2011
TITLE: “CHRISTMAS SHOPPING, IDEAS, LIST, ONLINE, STORES:  I wish you a merry gift buying spree!*”

It’s the beginning of December.  This week, I will talk about Christmas shopping. I will present my post about presents …. of the XMAS kind.  This is another in the continuing series on holidays and special dates. My book of the week is “Through the Shopping Glass: A Century of New York Christmas Windows” [Hardcover] by Sheryll Bellman (Author), Simon Doonan (Preface).
PREVIEW: Next week, in the continuing series on holidays and special dates, I will give you an update on my annual Christmas post, particularly about workplace parties and entertaining at home. You’re invited.  See you there! 
One of my girlfriends starts her Christmas shopping in January.  By the time Christmas comes around, the rest of us are running around frantic, while she’s all done, sitting back and enjoying the spirit and the excitement leading to Christmas Day. At the opposite end, some people, apparently mostly men, do their shopping on Christmas Eve. I can’t imagine that!
For me, it’s another story.  December first is the kickoff shopping date for me. It is the day when I get Christmas shopping fever. (Every year, I try desperately to start earlier, but it never happens.) I then start my count down.  My weekends are spent going in and out of stores getting ideas where the best buys are.  Some people are quite content doing their shopping on-line, but I prefer the shopping centers.  The spectacular Christmas lighting  and window displays are mesmerizing to me. (In Montreal, Ogilvy’s Christmas window is one of the best in our town.) The enormous Christmas tree, decorations, glitter and the songs/music are the ultimate Christmas mood makers. And further, there are the kiddie smile makers: children’s train ride , petting zoo animals and  of course, Santa Claus and his helper elves.  

Many years ago, my siblings and I exchanged gifts for Christmas.  Once my siblings were married with children, it became a very big ordeal and also expensive. At one point, we agreed to stop the exchange of gifts.  Indeed, sibling rivalry can get ugly.

THE AUTHOR: Sheryll Bellman & Simon Doonan
Sheryll Bellman

Sheryll Bellman graduated college with degrees in science, but her interest and passion are pop culture, past and present. She is the mother of adult children and grand kids. She is a New Yorker and an author with an eye for detail.   Her first book from fall 2000,  today’s choice is “Through the Shopping Glass a Century of New York Christmas Windows”.
Simon Doonan
Doonan, a baby boomer, is the apparel guru of Barneys, a New York clothing retailer.  He has been a style columnist first New York Observer and then Slate. (Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

Sheryll Bellman
Some of the books she wrote are:

  • Americas Little Italys: Recipes & Traditions from Coast to Coast 
  • America’s Great Delis: Recipes and Traditions from Coast to Coast 
  • Through the Shopping Glass a Century of New York Christmas Windows
  • America’s Great Delis Recipes and Traditions From Coast to Coast
  • Through the Shopping Glass a Century of New York Christmas Windows, (Rizzoli International Publications)

Simon Doonan
Some of the books he wrote are:

  • Confessions of a Window Dresser
  • Tales from the Life of Fashion.

THE BOOK: “Through the Shopping Glass: A Century of New York Christmas Windows” [Hardcover] by Sheryll Bellman (Author), Simon Doonan (Preface)
New York, New York is a FIVE STAR Christmas Town, Christmas Town.  The stores are big and great. Some of the notables are Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany & Co., Henri Bendel, and Barneys. A few blasts from the past are: Ohrbach’s, Gimbel’s, B.Altman,  Arnold Constable. Bellman is a gourmet of Christmas stores and displays. She looks at New York doing Christmas.  From the 1900s to today,  the retail displays are well done,  but  the window decor  is extra-special.   Pictures are worth a thousand words. Black & white show the character from the past while colour photos show the vibrance of today’s display.   Be there!   
Christmas is the gift-buying Olympics. It is only for buyers who are world class bargain spotters and elite-grade budget boosters. (Oh by the way, did you hear about that woman in the N.Y. department store who used mace on other shoppers competing with her for bargains. Can you believe that? ) For the rest of us, we do our best.
Personal Comments
Receiving gifts on Christmas day is exciting.  But giving is really my pleasure. Being present when my grandchildren are opening up their gifts and seeing the expression of joy on their little faces is so exhilarating. 

I really believe in making a list, enumerating the names of people for whom you will purchase a gift.

For friends, I look at typical stuff like, fragrances, body creams and coffee mugs – I guess a lot.      

Going to the mall becomes a memorable family adventure, bringing smiles for many years to come.  

I appreciate the effort a person puts into buying me a gift, but I’m not offended by a gift certificate.  Although gift certificates may seem impersonal, it’s the easiest gift to give and the most practical. 

It is truly Chritmas, when buying gifts and bringing them to organizations who will distribute them amongst the needy.

The Point
Everyone needs pointers. I want to share my thoughts, comments and suggestions.   


1. Get organized – this is to save time and money; in this regard,

1.1 Set an overall budget;  

1.2 Ask for a wish list from close family.

1.3 Make a list with the names of your near and dear recipeints and your gift alternatives; 

1.4 Set a budget for each recipient;
2. Write down the stores where you will shop and the gifts there available;
3. Get started as early as you can – that willl give you more time to enjoy the festive times;
4. Start with the easy gifts first and then worry about the others;  

5. Cross off the name and gift on your list as you make your purchases;
6. Try on-line shopping – it might be much easier and less stressful;
7. Buy gift certificates when in doubt;
8. Buy a gift for someone you know needing a kind wish and deed;
9. Share the season with the less fortunate – Christmas is a time for giving; in this regard,  

9.1 Make it a point to buy toys for children and bring it to a center that distributes these gifts. 

9.2 Bring food items and gifts to a churches or religious organizations.  These places are ideal for the distribution of these gifts since people in need turn to them for help during the holidays.

10. Try to make Christmas shopping, this year, easier and the funnest ever!

Gift receiving is great, but gift giving is greater. And doing and giving for the less fortunate is the greatest! Happy holidays!  

And that’s my thought of the week on books, what’s yours?*
Take it out for a spin and tell me if you agree.
“Books are life; and they make life better!*”
P.S. Big News: There are big changes coming to my blog – Please stay tuned.
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P.P.S. #2 I also have a FACEBOOK page. Consider becoming a friend? Visit: – Alp Save Andread – please check it out.
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*TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #1: Shopping Spree
“I was walking down Madison Avenue,” Tony Randall once recalled, “and I saw a very good-looking tie in a shop window. So I went in and before I could say anything, the manager said, ‘Oh, Tony Randall! In my store! Please, just a minute, I gotta call my wife, she’ll never believe me!’ “He calls her up and says to me, ‘Here, say hello, say anything, talk to my wife! Say anything!’ He flattered me so much that I bought the tie, bought six shirts… I didn’t have enough money. I said, ‘Will you take a check?’ He said, ‘Do you have any identification?'”
(Source: Anecdotage) –
“Sophia Loren once made the mistake of going shopping for brassieres in Rome. An immense crowd of lusty Roman men quickly mobbed the shopping plaza, trapping Loren in a dressing room. Three (3) fire brigades were required to break up the riot.”
(Source: Anecdotage) –
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #3: Counting Basies?
“While touring London in 1957, Count Basie – shopping for gifts for his family – sought far and wide for a pair of fur gloves for his daughter. After being advised by yet another clerk that mittens were more practical for children, Basie finally expressed his disagreement: “Oh yeah?” he replied. “How’re they going to count in the wintertime?”
(Source: Anecdotage) –

S & R* QUOTE #1: Bertrand Russell
“The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy; I mean that if you are happy you will be good.”
(Source: Wisdom Quotes) –
S & R* QUOTE #2: Leo C. Rosten
“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be “happy.” I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter and to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”
(Source: Wisdom Quotes)-
S & R* QUOTE #3: Albert Einstein
“A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?”
(Source:  Wisdom Quotes)
“For today, my word/phrase(s) are:  “Christmas Shopping”; “gift”; “”
Christmas Shopping
“The Christmas season,[1][2] the holiday season,[3][4] or simply the holidays is an annual festive period that surrounds Christmas and various other holidays.Several of the religious festivals during the Christmas and holiday season are celebrated with the exchanges of gifts, and the Christmas and holiday season thus also incorporates the “holiday shopping season”. This comprises a peak season for the retail sector at the start of the holiday season (the “Christmas shopping season”) and a period of sales at the end of the season, the 
“January sales”.”


“A wreath is an assortment of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs and/or various materials that is constructed to resemble a ring. They are used typically as Christmas decorations to symbolize the coming of Christ, also known as the Advent season in Christianity.”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –
“A gift or a present is the transfer of something without the expectation of receiving something in return. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free.
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –


$28.2 billion
“Retail sales by the nation’s department stores (including leased departments) in December 2008. This represented a 40 percent jump from the previous month (when retail sales, many holiday-related, registered $20.2 billion). No other month-to-month increase in department store sales last year was as large. Other U.S. retailers with sizable jumps in sales between November and December 2008 were book stores (95 percent); clothing stores (32 percent); jewelry stores (125 percent); radio, TV and other electronics stores (38 percent); and sporting goods stores (62 percent). ”
(Source: Service Sector Statistics\
14 percent
“The proportion of total 2008 sales for department stores (including leased departments) in December. For jewelry stores, the percentage was 18 percent. ”
(Source: Service Sector Statistics

23 percent
“The growth in inventories by our nation’s department stores (excluding leased departments) from Aug. 31 to Nov. 30, 2008. Thanks to the holiday crowds, inventories plummeted by 25 percent in December. ”
(Source: Service Sector Statistics
$24 billion
“Value of retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses in December 2008 ─ the highest total for any month last year.”
Source: Service Sector Statistics <>

“In the United States, the Christmas/holiday shopping season, during which a quarter of all personal spending takes place,[17] is traditionally considered to commence on the day after American Thanksgiving, a Friday colloquially known as either Black Friday or Green Friday. This is widely reputed to be the busiest shopping day of the entire calendar year. According to a survey by the Canadian Toy Association, peak sales in the toy industry occur in the Christmas and holiday season, but this peak has been occurring later and later in the season every year.[20] In 2005, the ceremonial kick-off to the Christmas and holiday season for online shopping, the first Monday after US Thanksgiving, was named Cyber Monday. However, although it was a peak, that was not the busiest on-line shopping day of that year. The busiest on-line shopping days were December 12 and December 13, almost two weeks later.
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

S & R* NEWS ALERT* #1: Give a gift that really matters – By Sarah Herce
“The growing popularity of charitable gift catalogues proves Canadians are thinking twice about traditional holiday gifts like expensive clothing and décor items that will just add clutter; opting instead to value “what matters most” experiences, memories, and connecting with friends and family. And although the reasons for charitable shopping are as varied as Canadians themselves, the end result is the same: Canadians are using their holiday shopping to make a difference. Shoppers are flocking to reputable Canadian charitable websites like Christian Children’s Fund of Canada ( to find the perfect gift. And with prices starting at $10, it’s easy to find something for everyone on your list while at the same time providing a meaningful way to bond with others both at home and around the world.Foodie in your life One kilogram bag of rice: $10 A non-perishable one kilogram bag of rice is a staple in many countries and will provide hungry children with a guarantee of at least one hot meal per day.
Teacher/Child Care provider in your life
Dictionary: $15 A building block of education no teacher or student should have to do without.
Under $20/Hostess gift Warm blanket: $20
Even in Africa, nights are chilly and children get cold. Give a child a warm blanket to protect them from the elements and provide them comfort throughout the night.
Stocking stuffer Fruit trees: $20
Fruit trees provide families with an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and enhance a child’s immune system to protect them from illness. Produce from trees such as bananas, papayas, mangos, coconuts and oranges can also be sold for additional income.
Last minute gifts Two mosquito nets: $30
One million people die from malaria every year, with pregnant women and children the most vulnerable to the disease. A simple mosquito net can protect a family of four.”
S & R* NEWS ALERT* #2: Holiday shopping on a budget
“Holiday parties, potlucks, and presents may mean your credit card will be the only thing getting a good workout this month. Though you try to be responsible and stay within your budget, somehow you manage to blow it every year. To help your finances through this month, here are some clever ways to avoid overspending:Buy big rolls of wrapping paper instead of single sheets. Little things like gift tags, cards, and wrapping paper can really add up and will eventually just end up in the garbage. To reduce costs, reuse gift bags from previous years or buy a large role of plain brown paper and dress it up with fancy bows and string. You can also make your own name tags by using decorative edge scissors.
Shop online at sites that let you sort potential gift purchases by price. Websites like allow you to buy meaningful gifts for children living in extreme poverty around the world in honour of your loved one. You can search gift items by price which will help you to stay within your budget. Your loved one will then receive an e-card to let them know that a life-saving gift was purchased in their name. Eat a good meal before you leave home or bring a snack with you. Most people don’t realize how much money is spent buying food and snacks at the mall; money that impacts your shopping budget’s bottom line. Go ahead and buy a snack, but eat the big meals at home your wallet and waistline will both thank you.”

TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 3rd, 2011 at 9:17 pm and is filed under Special Dates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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