Holiday Christmas Shopping

So today is Cyber Monday, and I took advantage of a few Black Friday online deals. However, I'm not really impressed with anything the average retailers are offering. In fact, I think it would be more wise for everyone to shop for unique, interesting, handmade gifts at local holiday markets. I wish I was still in NYC for the Columbus Circle market. It is absolutely phenomenal.

Between the romantic setting of Central Park, ice skaters at Wolman Rink, and general happy bustle of the crowd, I know for sure there's no place like Columbus Circle for Christmas! It's definitely not the same cozy shopping environment I experience online, or here at the markets in Shanghai, with people shouting "watches, bags, bracelets", or "lady, lady special price for you" in my face.

Just last week, it took over three hours to purchase sneakers, a winter coat, and a toy for the boy I sponsored through Concordia's Giving Tree. I hated wandering around the market, looking for not only a fair price, but for items that were of good quality. One lady in particular surprised me with her Spanish speaking skills (she overheard me speaking with Peruvians I met), but despite the warm bond over languages I thought we shared, I still couldn't get a good deal from her! The stress of arm wrestling over prices is definitely not my cup of tea.

For that reason, I do end up paying more for things I need because I seem to always end up at Carrefour, Ikea or at my favorite Spanish brands (Bershka, Stradivarius, Pull and Bear, etc). Case in point: my new overpriced Christmas tree from Ikea that has a Charlie Brown appeal to it:

However, in my defense, I have not been shopping for awhile, as I am planning on bringing two empty suitcases with me to Spain in 17 days, and shopping 'til I drop in Madrid. I haven't experienced Madrid during Christmas yet, so I am hoping to find some charm in the air. It may not be NYC, but I hope it will be a close second! :)

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