prepared with proper sizing...
Before you leave home trace each child's feet
on pieces of paper. Now you won't have to guess
whether those beautiful sandals in Italy or
those inexpensive socks in the markets of Hong
Kong will fit. Ditto for T-shirts. Carry one
sample per child in your backpack and shopping
becomes a cinch. P.S.
Always buy one size bigger. Kids grow like weeds
and you want this new T-shirt to fit for as
long as possible.
Be aware of
sale times around the world...
For example, in Paris there are two sale periods
legislated by the government each year: summer
and winter. Each sale runs for about six weeks.
The summer 'soldes' typically start at the end
of June, while the winter 'soldes' begin in
January. In London, England, the very posh Harrod's
holds a mega store-wide clearance in January
though it takes very careful shopping to find
affordable trinkets here even at sale time.
Remember that the end of season in Australia
is the beginning of a different season in North
America. I bought some great Earth Child summer
outfits normally very pricey in Canada on sale
in February in Sydney, Australia. These particular
styles only became available in Canadian shops
in Spring previews three months later. It was
a wonderful Australian find - up to the minute
styling at half the price.
Look for dollar
store equivalents around the world...
These stores are always worth a browse. You
never know what sort of wacky objects you'll
find. What is common in one culture becomes
a treasure in another.
offer special gift buying opportunities...
On a recent Christmas
Market Cruise I choose an 'angel theme'
and then picked one wonderful Christmas tree
ornament from each market in each country we
visited. This gave me a focus while I searched
through hundreds of handicraft stalls along
the way. Then I gave the entire angel collection
to my little granddaughter. Now, each year it's
her job to decorate a special section of the
family Christmas tree with lovely European angels.
Do your research...
Certain chains in certain countries are renowned
for interesting products at bargain prices.
in Paris, HEMA
in Amsterdam and Muji in Europe, Asia and USA.
here for Muiji locations. P.S.
Check out the Muiji item called, City
in a Bag -- a set of wooden blocks that
represents iconic symbols of some of the major
cities in the world. Interesting gift for kids
both big and little.
Pop into post
Often times the main post office in a major
city is housed in an interesting, historic building.
I always enjoy exploring the interior and taking
photos but I never leave without buying a couple
of dollars worth of colorful postage stamps.
Remember, the smaller denomination stamps are
just as beautiful as the bigger ones and most
postal employees love helping you pick the nicest
when they know it's for your grandkids.
I've found that since I have my own personal
collection of boxes from around the world my
grandkiddies are intrigued with the idea of
having one of their own as well. If the theme
is right, these containers are always so well
received by both the girls and the guys, no
matter their age. The biggest hits to date are
the delicate tooth fairy box I found in London
and the stunning, masculine mother of pearl
dragon box I stumbled upon in Seoul, Korea.
The best part about these box collections is
you never know where you'll find the next one
you'll love -- in a market, gift shop, museum
or dollar store. P.S.
I often open the box and add local stamps or
currency of the country where the container
was found. Now the purchase becomes an interesting,
painless geography lesson.