|Christmas at the Galeries LaFayette, Paris|
So, knowing what a stressful time it is I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite Christmas shopping places - only recently discovered because, frankly, they aren't located too close to where I live. I don't usually shop here but they made me smile, despite the crowds, and I hope they make you smile too.
|Outside the Galeries LaFayette in Paris|
It's not the place for a little bargain, but for window shopping or drooling (discreetly of course). It's fabulous. Above it all is a beautifully coloured glass dome ceiling which is elegant and amazing. The huge space even seemed to absorb the constant hum of desperate Christmas shoppers. So if you want elegance, this one does it in style. It's on any tourist list of places to see in Paris and easy to get to.
My other department store treat was KaDeWe - a similarly enormous store in Berlin. In fact I'm told it's the biggest store in Europe, though I haven't checked that fact. I wouldn't be surprised. I went for a browse and what a treat. Again, it had the most wonderful luxury items - the sort of things that don't even feature in the town where I live. The jewellery and fashion sections were amazing but if you just stopped there you'd miss a lot.
|Christmas for the discerning dog? KaDeWe, Berlin|
And of course there were gifts for people as well. These designer art pieces were eye-catching and fun and unlike anything I'd ever seen before. The whole display of crazy animals just made me smile. I love the crocodile at the front of the photo, with his mouth open wide.
|For someone who has everything|
Perhaps the best thing about upmarket department store shopping (even if it's window shopping), is relaxing in the on-premises coffee shop to rest the feet. KaDeWe was no exception. We passed up the chance for oysters and seafood. Instead we chose from the coffee and cake selection. Even that took us fifteen minutes of careful browsing!
|Finishing with afternoon tea|
Back home again and I doubt I'll be buying things like these on my Christmas shopping excursions. My aim will be to think carefully, write a list or two and try to do my shopping quickly and methodically, avoiding the crowds. I wonder if I'll manage it? I know that if anyone were to offer me coffee and cake as good as these along the way, I'd be only too happy to indulge.
How about you? Are you looking forward to Christmas shopping? Do you get a buzz out of finding the right gift? Or is it all too hard? Will you shop at a department store or somewhere smaller or maybe even make your own gifts this year? Do you have a favourite place you like to shop?
In the spirit of Christmas cheer, I will give away a signed copy of my latest book DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY to someone who leaves a comment. If you leave a post, drop by again tomorrow to see if you've won.
And if you're still wondering what to buy people for Christmas - how about a romance? 'Defying Her Desert Duty' is available now from The Book Depository (with free postage), or for new year reading there's 'Captive in the Spotlight' (this link is to the North American version, out in February, as it includes an extra full length story 'Blackmailed Bride, Innocent Wife' for free). To find out more about either book, drop by Annie's website for more detail and some tantalising excerpts.