Holiday Shopping And Holiday Windows (图)

(2010-12-02 17:20:01) 下一个

When men and women dressed in colorful and warm overcoats, standing in front of stores, shaking their copper bells and asking people's donation to the disadvantaged and and unfortunate ones on the streets of this big city, you just know Christmas is around  the corner.

Last weekend, as I negotiated the spaces with the shoppers who carried big and small shopping bags and inhaled pungent smells of baked soft pretzels or roasted chestnuts coming from the food venders' push-up carts at the street ends, I couldn't help but conjuring up my warm and exciting memories of gifts receiving exp in my life: Opening the box to meet my first electric guitar given by my dad who was sternly against me to play any other music instruments except piano , that year I was a 15 years-old silly boy in an university or ripping off the golden and blueish wrapping paper and surprised to find out a vacation package of two  to Malta; - a very thoughtful gift from my ex-gf. That Xmas was my first year to work for an Investment Bank on the street, never taking a single vacation day. I accidentally used so much strength to hug her in the name of thanks that she couldn't speak a word after I let go of her  because she was “strangled”.

I'd like to receive gifts, especially the ones that knock my socks off, and I deeply admire those who can read other's mind when it comes to buy and give gifts, but I am a poorly gift giver. The major facts are a. I don't know what people like/want or I don't pay enough attention to dig them out. b. I am not good at doing shopping in general. c. I typically waited for last minutes to buy Xmas gifts for my girl, my folks or friends in single trip. Many times things just didn't work well because the items I'd like to buy were gone or in lesser quality or wrong sizes. Factoring those elements together, results are be pretty much predictable. The worse thing was that many years I ended up just purchasing the gift cards from the stores, no one was really enthusiastic about seeing a piece plastic as the gifts in the holiday. I felt sorry for these gift receivers and myself. This year, I made my mind to make an amendment to do real shopping for people I care, early.

There is another reason to start my holiday shopping as I am afraid that unlike last two years, good stuffs in many stores could fly off the shelves in much quicker speeds because consumers seem more willing to spend this year. For example, Tiffany's recent sparkling quarterly results indicate that a stellar holiday could be realized. More or less, luxury goods consumption can be used as a tool to gauge the pulse of the robustness of economy. However, better consumer confidence is a double edged sword; on one hand, high consumer spending may be ultimately translated into better economic growth as about 70 percent of American Economy is fueled by consumer spending alone, on the other hand, if demands arise, more merchants will be likely to curb the discounts in order to fatten their profit margins. In 2008-09 holiday season, because of recession, classic and elaborated department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Barney's New York, Sakes Fifth Ave and Bloomingdale's were all cutting the prices of their merchandises in the manners never seen before in the years I've lived here. That was really scary scene though, but it somehow worked out for me since the unprecedented prices and longer sales period increased my odds to get some real good deals during my last-minutes roundup. Unfortunately, such irrational discounts could be hardly repeated as history is turning a new page.

I went to some stores on the 5th ave.  and “proudly”  completed majority of Xmas gifts items on my shopping lists. I purchased gifts for my mother, father, grandma, grandpa, my close friends, my bosses and myself. Under the influences of so-called “Black Friday”, these stores appeared have some good bargains if looked closer. I was impressed by exquisite and wide ranges of selections from many renown, really creative and talented minds ( not those over-rated and over-hyped types in other stores) at Bergdorf Goodman. More, no sign of “ shopping army invasion” from my own country, yet. :)

There are some well-kept secrets in this city. Bergdorf Goodman department store is one of them. The locals usually don't go to Macy's' flag-ship in Herald Square at 34
th street or stores in Time Square. Those are the attractions for the tourists who are notoriously known to record everything in their sights in every possible angles with their cameras and camcorders.

This reminds me that once upon a time, in a city of far away land, locals didn't do much shopping at the famous shopping strip called Nanjing Road, either. The same principle holds true here as well. Only tourists or “peasants” flood to Macy's, Lord and Tyler, Chanel or Louis Vuitton … Ok. I am just kidding.

It is just me or something is wrong with me. Every time, I pass by LV store, there are so many loud foreign-language speaking shoppers hang around, excitement and commotion make the location look like a “zoo”. I completely don't get it how come LV's bags which in my eyes are so boring, so lack of imagination and creativity, yet are so popular. It really beats me. When the cleaning lady who regularly cleans my apt carries a contraband LV handbag, that you know something is not quite right.

I discovered that gift shopping is actually not that bad. Furthermore, as the value-added experiences, I got a change to stop and smell the roses : Wowing and admiring those creative, splendorous, and artistry holiday windows decorated by these first-class stores on my shopping route. Which is one of the true holiday spirits of the city. This phenomenon that dedicates so much resources and talents to dress up the city year after year may easily make Paris, London, Roma, Madrid and Tokyo pale in comparison.

Among these marvelous holiday windows, I'd like to give two thumps up to Bergdorf 's ones.
Below the whimsical surface, the windows appeal to our wish-for: Someday we'd be able to leave the boring and rigid reality behind, taking an adventure journey with the one you love through time of the mankind in different transportation means without any boundary. 

To my surprised, there is a video with a good song - Follow Me sang by Adrianna Cole on youtube. It actually provide people with a peek about how their holiday windows were created by a group of artists at BG. You have to give youtube and Internet some credits for putting on the timely info to support my claim. :)

Note: a. The photos comes from Internet, I normally don't take photos because I am not good at it ,and I think if someone does better than me then there would be no reason to reinvent the wheel. In addition, I don't want to be looked like  a tourist :) b. My opinions above that show liking to one store and distaste the other brand are highly biased, but there is no disses or endorsement involved, it is a purely personal taste. You may think it as the same way you may favor one kind food over other. In other words, we are all entitled to express our preference. c. In case, you believe my writing is offensive to you. I'd like apologize in advance.

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苏乡门地 回复 悄悄话 回复纵然平行的评论:

Regret and guilt, nah, it really ought be the other way around~~ fyi, I’ve already taken the initiatives getting them toys, earlier, by paying more before Black Friday, since their birthdays are within a month, right before Thanksgiving :( Hm, i was wrong to think you are on my side of the fence :(( Just curious, besides everything that begins with an i, what are some of your favorite toys for this year? If you don’t mind sharing.

I am indeed an easterner, by nature~~ But I do not mind living in other parts of US as long as long it’s not Fargo MD~~ just cannot stand the winter cold any more, not like 20 years ago, I have had enough taste of “wind chill” back then in New England, for several years, and I am sooooo done with that :))

Not like you, I am still unsure about the geographical location of the so called Destination, it's a shame isn't it. therefore, I like to think myself sort of a drifter, by soul, hehe
纵然平行 回复 悄悄话 回复苏乡门地的评论:
It appears that you are definitely one of our easterner who holds more favorable views toward the the big apple unlike people from the west coast who often loath colder weather, crowdedness, higher standard of living, arrogance just name few in this city. (all their points are true, though). I can understand them perfectly well, and there is nothing wrong for preferring one city over the others. However, I, for some reasons, have some difficulty to imagine myself to live some other places which is lack of distinctiveness of seasons or goods, services and challenges provided in this dynamic city.

I am absolutely“shocked”by you in two fronts based upon your comments below. First, you have not completely checked off all the items on your holiday gift lists yet after your shopping trip, I thought that you are the one who have been routinely preaching your king and your prince about the peril of procrastination in your castle. Second, you only purchase your favorite stuffs to indulge yourself, leaving the king and prince' needs under the rag. What about to show some holiday spirits such as kindness, generosity, appreciation … ? Where are these hottest toys for man or latest video games for kid ? Talking about selfishness, do you need more accusations/ammo ? :))

Well, the good part is that it is not too late to make up to them before you'd have to live with the regret and guilt which could wake you up in the middle of the nights someday. :)
苏乡门地 回复 悄悄话 回复纵然平行的评论:

It was I who should be thankful to have the pleasure of reading this cheerful holiday experience. Thank you for showing us the spirit and pride of NYC, though it's only a glimpse of the Big Apple. There is no doubt this city will never cease to evolve itself as long as it continues to embrace more and more " really creative and talented minds" from the world.

FYI, got some shopping done today, nothing extraordinary, just chocolates, Truffles and toffees, yeah all girlie stuff haha
纵然平行 回复 悄悄话
苏乡门地:Ditto your analogy – human eyes and windows. In some extend, holiday windows do reflect the spirits of dwellers and characteristics of certain cities around the world which is getting flatter, smaller and more similar in a sense. For example, holiday window decorations as well as Rockefeller Center Tree lighting in NYC have become some sort of iconic spectacles that reveal what this city is truly about and what residents really stride for. Throughout the history, so many young and old, male and female come to this city with little belongings besides of their big dreams or wired fantasies, many of them work hard and seize the opportunities; In the end, some actually make something happen. The spirits of their believing-creativity-and-imagination have defined the physical and sociological landscapes of a incrediblely energetic city in profound ways. Well, technically speaking, every accomplishment of mankind that we have archived so far might have begun with someone's loft ideal or unattainable dream.

“Ihave to go right straight to Bergdorf in my next NYC visit.” That was what I was afraid of in first place, if you read my footnotes. :(

There are so much to see and do here for each of us, BG shouldn't stay on the top of anyone's priority list, period. BTW, I don't look down upon anyone who shops in different stores. A piece of friendly reminder: taking any advice from a very biased and gangdu guy like me will make you “cry out” later . :)

I didn't watch “Sex And The City”, the sitcom or the movies because somehow they are too girly to fit my taste. Could my thoughts be influenced by so many NYC girls that I have date so far ? Or simply, I just don't like the over-saturation of a certain brand, both could be the possibilities. No stress please, it is holiday season if you haven't got enough. :) I am not mad at you at all.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments

O.U.A.T: I'dlike to welcome your stop-by. I can't see your face behind your ID, but I bet my money that you were smiling as you read my “insider's joke”. :)

As you are aware, although the locals and tourists have different needs, the issue I am having is that the merchants in total different time period and spaces shouldn't take advantages of tourists by bombasting those truth-stretch advertisements for luring the easy targets in and get rich on them. Well, In some aspects, some tourists might ignore locals' approaches and be the participating victims, willingly. :(

Your observation is similar to mine only in different color shade. Maybe, the brand should not be banned on the earth, but you have a valid point. Again, some merchants deliberately exaggerate values which consumers can get from their goods in order to rack huge profits. A educated consumer should always do the research before opening the wallet: Never blindfolded and led to the “slaughter house” by the artificially inflated value called social status, I am assuming you'd agree with me on this account.

Well, once a while pampering yourself a bit shouldn't be a problem. :)
O.U.A.T 回复 悄悄话 I totally feel you when you regarding LV, OMG, that brand should seriously just disappear from this world, save me the painful view of every woman in Shanghai/HK/Tokyo is carrying the same logo purse and feel ridiculously good.

"This reminds me that once upon a time, in a city of far away land, locals didn't do much shopping at the famous shopping strip called Nanjing Road, either.", hehehe, that's a good one.:)
苏乡门地 回复 悄悄话 It is very much like the eyes of a human being, shop windows of a town usually tell us so much details about that place and the folks around it, when you take a deep look into the windows, you are either not impressed at all by looking away or you may get a "fatal attraction" by drowning into a sort of fantacy land~~~

I guess I have to go right straight to Bergdorf in my next NYC visit so that I don't look like a Liu Laolao, haha

To be honest, in the middle of your stories, I got a funny feeling that I am listening to Carrie Bradshaw all over again, please DO NOT get mad at me, please~~~ this is a good piece, and I enjoy the song and nice clip very much.

Happy Weekend!