You don't love Christmas the way that I do and not be starting to get excited. There are 42 shopping days before Dec. 25 so I'm on the mark and ready to go this weekend to get it done.
Well, most of it. It's always nice to leave a few things for the last week, particularly if you can pick them up downtown on a still winter's night, lights twinkling, snow gently falling, carols pouring from outdoor speakers.
For now though, I'm focussed on this Saturday and an annual outing with a girlfriend. On a November weekend before the rush, we have traditionally booked a room in a nearby city, a place with speciality stores offering unique inventories.
While shopping alone is a favourite pastime of mine, when you shop with the right person it's the best. My friend and I bounce ideas off each other. My if-you-love-it-buy-it attitude complements her pragmatic approach to purchasing. Presented with two options she can guide my decision in a manner that leaves me thinking it was all mine and I can push her reluctance when it's needed.
Of course, it's not all about shopping. After a long day of checking off the Christmas list, we find our way to the hotel, exhausted but satisfied. Following a restorative glass of wine or two, and a recap of the day's acquisitions, we dine then search out some music at a local pub.
It is, without question, one of the most anticipated outings of the year for me.
So, as we look ahead to the holiday season, to promotional materials and advertisements, here are some wonderful photographs with the focus on friends shopping: