Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Shopping, How I Loathe Thee.

This weekend, I went out on my first shopping trip of the year.  It was not a pretty sight.

Almost every year, my mom, her sisters (and sister-in-law), and her mother go on what we now call "The Brewer Ladies Shopping Trip."  For years, it let them spend time with each other, go on a little trip, and be kid-free to shop for Christmas.  It changes every year, but the girl cousins usually have to be a certain age to go on the trip.  For a while, it was once you were 21, but this year we included my youngest cousin on the trip (it was a more casual day trip and she's 12 1/2, so we weren't carting around a little kid).  Anyway, it's always a lot of fun to spend the day shopping, eating out, and laughing (we find everything funny).

This year, we went to the PA Christmas and Gift Show, which takes place at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Arena.  The Farm Show is PA's version of the state fair.  Food, a rodeo, and lots of animals and farm / country supplies.  It's a unique experience.  Because January is a quiet time in the life of a farmer, the Farm Show takes place then, and the show is all indoors at the arena.  It's a MASSIVE building.  The PA Christmas and Gift Show is a MASSIVE craft / gift fair.  I was overwhelmed.  I wasn't looking for anything in particular, but I kept my eyes open for more unique gifts, which I found.

We were also grossly unprepared.  We thought by eating a hearty breakfast and getting cash, we'd be in the clear.  In the parking lot, families were hauling out those grocery carts that you use in the city to haul food, giant tote bags, and strollers to the door.  They were in it to win it.  We were just there to look good.  We all had cute outfits on, but we should have worn matching T-shirts and sneakers.  We were a group of 8, and we lost each other constantly in the shuffle.  There were over a thousand vendors.  ONE THOUSAND.  People were leaving with loads of stuff, just to go back in!  I left with a book for Elliott and some soaps (handmade in Bucks County.  I had to go all the way to Harrisburg to find Bucks Country soaps).

We left exhausted.  My mom and aunts say they'll go again next year.  I don't know if I will.

After a late lunch / early dinner, we headed home.  My Aunt Chris had driven Elliott and I to Harrisburg on Friday night, and Grandpa watched E all day.  Jason met my aunt and I at KOP to switch cars, and boy was that a mistake.  I forgot that KOP is a zoo in December.  I'm so glad I'm doing almost all my shopping online.

The day would have probably been easier if Elliott hadn't had some tummy and teething issues the night before, finally falling fast asleep at 4 am.  I was flying solo (well, without Jason), so I was pretty tired in the morning.  It's amazing what you can do if you really want to.  I went to sleep last night at 10pm.  I woke up at 9.  I feel much better.

What shopping traditions, if any, do you have?

- J & M.