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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Shopping can be the Gift: The Invention of Tradition

Shopping as Gift. A weird concept, is it not? Let me explain. I am hardly one to offer holiday tips, since my family (thanks, mostly, to me) is rather haphazard in the holiday department. What traditions we have are ad hoc and keep changing as we change.

So, for instance, Miss Em was enamored of fairy tales for many years. So each year, we would get her a beautifully illustrated book of fairy tales. These were met with happiness, so we continued. Till one holiday: a ho-hum response.

My favorite fairy tale book.

The next tradition developed by accident. We were at Zita's, which is mainly a head shop. She does have some jewelry appealing to the young (and lots of items for piercings--not that kind of jewelry). One year, Miss Em expressed a desire for something. I went back and bought it. She was happy.

The gift looked something like this.

In subsequent years, we returned to Zita's and other local gift shops. We were in search of the gift. So-no-there wasn't a real surprise, though I did purchase the item later. It occurred to me that the gift was not the receiving, but the hours of exploration beforehand, as Miss Em decided on her favorites. The hours were pleasant and stress-free. No Shopping ADD (thanks to Revanche for this useful term).

I can't imagine doing this with my son or husband! But for teenage girls, it seems perfect. At least for my girl.

Have you ever made shopping part of the gift?

P.S. According to historians, traditions can be, have been, and are invented! So we can do it too.

6 comments:

see you there! said...

I just took the 13 yo GD shopping for Christmas on Tuesday. I give her a budget, she picks her gifts. Then we come home where Grandpa has dinner waiting for us.

Years ago I started taking each daughter (2 of them) by themselves out to lunch and shopping for their Christmas present.

Works perfectly! They get what they really want, no wrapping, it is done and fun.

Darla

Jane said...

My DD and I just spent a weekend in Toronto, our second annual as the first one last year was so much fun (she's 20). We have a fabulous dinner, a night at the theatre and stay at the Hilton, then spend all day Sunday shopping. The weekend is a gift to ourselves plus I found a blouse and sweater that she bought for ME for Christmas. It's a new "tradition" that we hope to continue for years to come:)

Duchesse said...

Since my sons were about four, my husband would take them to Hermes where they would choose a scarf for me, then have hot chocolate. The staff have seen them grow up. In early years they could be influenced but by 10 or so were definite in their tastes.

They absolutely love choosing the scarf, which is given jointly and is my only gift.

Shelley said...

I think this sounds like a lovely gift, but not one limited to Christmas if I read your blog rightly. Shopping as you describe it is the gift of attention (and shopping ADD is the perfect description for most of the men I've known). Better to give up the element of complete surprise and get the perfect thing than guess and miss the mark by a mile. I'm sure Mom and I did this a few times for really important purchases.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Darla--Ooh, I hope I can do it w/ a gd one day too! Love the waiting dinner also.

@Jane--Now I want to extend to a weekend also. Something else to look forward to.

@Duchesse-A great tradition for all. You must have a beautiful collection by now. Le Duc is obviously a master gift giver also.

@Shelley--I guess we do it year round now that I think of it. I'm the one w/ shopping ADD, though my husband and son have it too.

Revanche said...

Hah, you're welcome. It's nice to know I'm not the only female out there whose eyes roll up in the back of her head after a brief period of shopping.

My best friend does this on occasion. If he or I don't know precisely what we're buying for someone, his go-to gift is setting a budget and taking his GF shopping. Of course, then he has to suffer through the actual trip too, but that's his problem ;)