Wednesday, December 08, 2010

"It's Christmastime In the City..."

And I've had a very long day. I don't remember Philly being this crazy when I went shopping last year. The PATCO was full when I stepped on the Philadelphia Local around 10:30 this morning. I was very glad to be able to find a seat. Perhaps people were taking advantage of the decent weather. It was still very cold, about 35 degrees, but the clouds were gone and it wasn't nearly as windy as it has been.

I made a wrong turn at the PATCO station and ended up at the Mellon Center instead of the Gallery Mall. That was ok. I took a quick peek at the toys at Ross Dress For Less, then just headed out the Market Street entrance and went down the block to the mall.

Made my first find of the day at the big FYE at the Gallery Mall. I was looking for an action DVD for my stepdad I thought he might like at the FYE in Audubon, but I couldn't find it there. I was able to pick it up for a good price in Philly. Peeked at the Gallery Mall's Toys R Us Express for something for my cousin Samantha's 5-year-old daughter Faith (the only kid left on my list) before heading out.

My next stop was Rite Aid for allergy medicine. Then, it was onto Macy's to see the Light Show, the Dickens Village, and pick up something for my stepsister Jessa. BIIIIGGGG mistake. By this point, it was past 12, and Macy's was a total mob scene. There were piles of kids waiting to watch the Light Show, and a line going half-way across the third floor to get into the Dickens Village! It took me twenty minutes to find a short line in the housing department so I could buy my present for Jessa. I never did get to see the Village.

I did get to see the Light Show, though. As always, it was worth it. Thousands of tiny LED lights cascade from the Grand Hall, telling condensed versions of several holiday stories through colorful images, Julie Andrews' narration, and a gorgeous, fully-lit Christmas tree (re-added a few years ago). No wonder this has been a Philadelphia holiday tradition for at least 40 years. It had every single child in the entire building spellbound. The bears with the trumpets are still my favorites.

Here's the older version of the show, sans the tree.

I was so happy to get out in the cold air after all the warm bodies in Macy's! I doubled back and headed to Reading Terminal Market for lunch. Had a Chicken gyro from that same Mediterranean booth Lauren and I ate at in June and I ate at alone on my birthday. They're cheap, and they make good food. I also treated myself to a butter almond cookie from The 4th Avenue Cookie Company booth near the entrance.

After I finished lunch, I went through City Hall and onto the Avenue of the Arts to visit the big FYE and Borders there. No luck at FYE, but I did get Uncle Ken his present at Borders. It was almost 4 by the time I got out of Borders. Neither store was anything resembling as busy as Macy's had been, but I did a lot of browsing, especially at FYE.

Headed down Chestnut Street for my last stop of the day at the Liberty Place Mall. Turns out that they, too had a Toys R Us Express. Compared to the ones I'd seen at the Gallery Mall and in Audubon, this one was HUGE! I did see some doll clothes, which was my original idea for Faith...but then I noticed more areas even further in the back. I finally found Disney Princess Magnetic Paper Dolls, which I thought she'd get even more of a kick out of.

It was past 4:30 when I finally made my way down to 15th Street, after making a quick stop at CVS on Chestnut for pads. I was lucky to be able to hop on a rather surprisingly not-full PATCO home. Other than being cold, my ride home was no problem at all.

I spent the rest of the evening wrapping presents. I didn't quite finish. I think I still have five left to do. Plus, I never did find what I wanted for Rose in Philly. I finally just ordered her present from, which I consider to be a last resort. Online shopping may be a great option for people who don't have the patience for it, but I really do enjoy shopping. I love browsing, seeing the people, getting out, enjoying my finds.

On the other hand, I don't enjoy long lines, grouchy sales clerks, or tripping over everyone and their grandmother. I think next year, I'll try to avoid the crowds by starting my trip at the Liberty Place Mall and the Avenue of the Arts and ending it at Macy's and the Gallery Mall. Hopefully, the latter will be less crowded in the late afternoon.

Oh, and my box from Linda and James Young came today. There were a few wrapped presents that looked like books. I didn't open them; I'll save them for Christmas Day. There was also a stack of DVDs with copies of a series of mystery TV movies Linda likes, McBride. I'm a fan of John Larroquette, so I'm definitely willing to check these out.

Here's Linda's fan site with more information.

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