Either the approach of Christmas has been very subdued this year, or I've learned to relegate gigantic red and green decorations, ads, and posters, as part of the usual background noise that you're just meant to expect for this season. None of the retail stores I've been in recently are blasting Christmas tunes over their PA or speaker systems, so maybe without the auditory cues to aid the visual ones, the whole Christmas vibe just hasn't hit me yet, so maybe it is too early to think about it.
What it isn't too early for me to be doing though, is to start thinking about Christmas presents, and going about my yearly before-Christmas tradition: snow globe hunting.
Snow globe hunting is something I've done every year since I had some money to spend (ie: after I got my first job). It's pretty self-explanatory: I go out shopping for snow globes. I always start with Kirkcaldies - the city's most prestigious department store, which just happens to have a dedicated Christmas shop - and then work my way to other department stores, then smaller retail and souvenir/gift shops from there.
The success rate is mixed. Actually, I lie; the success rate is depressingly low. In all my years of snow globe hunting, I've only managed to find 1 snow globe that fit all of my criteria for what a snow globe should be... and it became a Christmas present for my mum. I have 2 other snow globes, but I didn't find them - they were presents from my friend the hug nazi.
When you're in a country which goes through Christmas during the summer months - where the typical Christmas scene is a barbecue outdoors wearing sunglasses and shorts, rather than making snowmen in thick jackets, gloves, scarves, and a beanie - snow globes aren't exactly a gift item you'll find on store shelves. The ones that I do manage to find are either really tiny novelty items, or epic large several-hundred-dollar pieces of art that deserve prime position on your mantlepiece. I don't have a mantlepiece, nor am I willing to spend that kind of money on a snow globe. It also doesn't help that my idea of what a snow globe should be has been shaped by the Christmases you often see in American TV and movies.
My definition of the perfect snow globe? The globe part itself should fit in your hands, it should depict a white northern-hemisphere-winter Christmas scene, the base shouldn't be larger than roughly a third the size of the globe itself, and extras such as a music box, electric lights, or a motor that pushes the snow around for you, are not required.
They're not hard to find on the internet. Heck, even the Wikipedia entry for snow globe shows a picture of the sort of thing I'm looking for:
But in this country, you're better-off searching for a cheap pair of socks! (socks for some reason are very expensive in New Zealand, but that's another blog topic altogether)
Given that I search for presents for friends on the internet, I should probably do the same and extend my snow globe hunt to the online realm. That, or if you're someone I know who just happens to be looking for a Christmas present for me, I've just given you an epic hint.
*wink wink* ;)