Heralding in a new Holiday Shopping Season - Christmas Tree in front of Macy's - Flickr photo by Pravin-kumar
What a familiar statement that is. Not to worry as there are numerous shopping opportunities; what with mega malls, discount outlet shopping centers, strip malls with large department stores and discount stores galore in most every city around. If you are like many folks and simply don’t want to fight the crowds or just get out, you can turn on the tube and seek out gifts for everyone on Home Shopping Network and QVC or other similar TV shopping networks. Plus, technology has pushed the envelope when it comes to shopping on the Internet. New or used, you name it and you can find it on a variety of websites.
Some of our readers will remember planned shopping excursions, where for weeks you mapped out your trip to the big city to buy Christmas gifts. It normally required an overnight stay in a hotel or nearby inn and often included a special meal at your favorite out-of-town restaurant. Up early in the morning to beat the crowds with a shop until you drop attitude . . . then laden with gifts galore you return to your home-away-from -home; tired, but pleased that you found that special gift for Aunt Mary, Cousin Jane and Grandpa.
Going to the big city for shopping was a treat - Flickr photo of Washington, DC at Christmastime by ktlerconk
Part of the phenomenon of Christmas shopping from afar was the gaiety of sparkling tinsel and twinkling lights, seeing a larger than life Christmas tree and simply being part of the bustling Christmas shopping crowd.
Today, there are more reasons to leave the sofa or laptop to shop – mega malls are not just filled with retail establishments but many house amusement parks, hotels, and are considered tourist destinations. Here are some stats when it comes to these mega shopping opportunities. Eight of the 10 largest malls in the world are located in Asia, so if you really want a shopping experience of a life time you might want to travel to Dongguan, China, where the South China Mall is said to be the largest mall in the world. This mall has it all; a replica of France’s Arc de Triomphe, working wind mills, a theme park, and has a whopping 7.1 million square feet of space to its name.
If you want to ride the waves or experience the thrill of a towering roller coaster, then Cevahir Istanbul in Turkey is the place to go. Considered the largest mall in Europe, Cevahir features a wave pool, roller coaster and several IMAX theatres plus a bevy of shops to meet the needs of even the most persnickety shopper.
Rollercoaster shown is in the West Edmonton Mall, Alberta, Canada - Wikimedia photo
Mall of America, Flickr photo by cliff1066
For those U.S. shoppers who want to be a little closer to home, then the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada might just be the ticket for the whole family. With 3.8 million square feet of shopping and entertainment space, including a casino, skating rink, water park, a petting zoo and other attractions, this mega mall rivals some of the best and largest. Let’s not forget the Mall of America, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where forty million visitors a year visit to shop at more than 500+ stores, visit the Underwater Aquarium Adventure, Lego Imagination Center and Dinosaur Walk Museum or party hardy in one of their seven nightclubs.
The town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber - Flickr photo by Alaskan Dude
Lifesize nutcracker in Rothenburg Christmas Store - Flickr photo by Alaskan Dude
Not into mega malls, and simply want to get caught up in the spirit of Christmas? Dating all the way back to the 14th century is Germany’s Christkindlmarkt experience; a must do and see in towns like Dresden and Nuremberg. Also, the Medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is famous for its Weihnachtsmarkt. Even if you don’t buy a thing, just touring this romantic town, whose history goes back as far as 970 AD, with its uneven cobblestone streets, aged half-timbered houses and an imposingly thick wall of stone that surrounds the city, will leave you with a feeling of good will and cheer.
Last but not least are those home-spun Christmas -bazaars, put on by churches and non-profit organizations galore, where crafters and artisans of all kinds put out their one-of-a-kind treasures or cloned home-made articles of all types. You won’t want to miss these delightful, in-your-backyard shopping opportunities, where often times this is where you find that special gift found no where else.
Happy holidays everyone – and happy shopping to you!