of gal. The idea of getting up any earlier than I absolutely must to buy stuff I don't need at prices lower than regular price just does not appeal to me. Even if we were in the States, I can't imagine wanting to stand in lines like that (or deal with such crowds) for any reason. And when you are living in a developing country, you quickly learn to redefine "need."
We might want a grill for our outdoor patio, but let's face it, that's a want. Our kids might each want their own iPad (an example, no one has yet asked), but that's so not going to happen, since they each already have computer access when they need it. I want new cookware, but other than one particular pan, do we really *need* it? No.
Hence, I find the race each year to the stores to be entertaining at best. Quite honestly, I don't even know what people could want to buy. We had Black Friday sales here (which lasted all weekend), which I found to be just bizarre. If anything, seeing the spread of the idea is just depressing. Then there is the whole Cyber Monday idea and the shopping just never ends. Occasional shopping I certainly understand, but this manic-crazed thing is just not my cup of tea.
Instead of making me feel better about the approaching holidays, it's just seems rather sad to me. I'm reminded of my mom, who was so good about buying gifts all year round, really finding unique items that people wanted, catching every hint, and then squirelling things away until it was time to start wrapping. She thrived on real craft fairs (hand crafted wooden items, pottery that had been lovingly shaped, glazed, and fired, and the like), and managed to find exactly what folks wanted and needed. Oh, sure, she still shopped traditional stores when need be, but took her time and still managed to find the perfect gift for everyone, even the year she died.
To give myself credit, I tried. However, after she died, Christmas lost a lot of its luster. To this day, I still randomly find myself in a market thinking, "Oh, that would be perfect for Mom!" and then it hits me 5 seconds later that it just doesn't matter. After a few years, I finally started to get back into enjoying the holidays, until fall 2010 hit. Christmas again took a blow, as it's very hard to enjoy when you are in the midst of recovering from something you shouldn't have to deal with, ever.
Each year has gotten a bit better, but even with Peter home last year, it was still stressful as he was absent during so much of the 'prep' time. I found myself doing a lot of last-minute shopping (which I loathe) and vowed it would be different this year.
Unfortunately, this year I've been thrown off by a new schedule and a lack of seasonal changes. The schedule I can deal with, but the lack of seasons just throws me off. While it's nice to know that we may be able to swim outside on Christmas afternoon, it's hard to get into the mood hearing Feliz Navidad in the stores while I'm wearing shorts and Tevas.
Then last Friday rolled around....it was the much-anticipated holiday fair that was put on in the Embassy by my office. I can officially say that as long as I have this fair to look forward to each year, I will have no problem getting myself psyched up for the holidays. We had such an amazing range of vendors, from local smokehouses to those who made adorable hair baubles for wee ones to absolutely amazing handcrafted wooden creations.
Finally, gifts that I know cannot be duplicated, and not only would they not break my wallet, they would help fill someone else's. From the father/son duo making the wooden salad bowls that would run close to $100 in the States, to the handmade pine needle baskets, we had so much choice. Suddenly, I was not only glad that had brought my shopping basket, but wished I'd thought to bring a few more reusable grocery bags.
Here are just a few of the samples from the day...and just think, if you visit, I'm sure we can arrange for you to meet with any one of the vendors, should it not be fair time.
If you are enchanted by either the jewelry or the pine needle baskets/coffee, you can see more online and purchase from Fabretto! Click here and you can see all of the items available for purchase. Oh, and, yes, we might have been a bit selfish...we did buy ourselves an early Christmas gift, but at $38 for the whole set, just couldn't pass it up.
Christmas shopping that gives in several directions and far more directly to those who need it. Unique items that can't be found elsewhere...did I mention we also have a spring fair? Just saying....