We're excited to announce our holiday hours, for this most wonderful time of the year. We're going to be open seven days a week up until Christmas Eve, when we're open 11-2. Saturdays 11-6 Sundays 12-5 Monday to Friday 11-7 Christmas Eve Sunday 11-2 Normal hours resume after Christmas + Boxing Day. Unfortunately we're going to be cancelling the Letter Writing Club for December. I will miss the few hours of calm and writing and company, but I'm hoping to write a blog post on Christmas correspondence soon in the meantime. We hope to see a few of you over the next couple of weeks, whether you're shopping for just the right gift, or something small for someone who's not expecting it, or just to say hello and maybe pick up some Christmas cards or a treat to reward yourself for getting through the season.* The longer we've been in the business, the more we get to know other families who run shops, and I love both commiserating and celebrating how to make it work. We comprise an interesting sort of demographic, shop families: parents who have the flexibility to pick up their kids from school in the middle of the workday, but who bring them "home" to a shop where they ride a toy car between shelves and packing material. Kids who are used to late dinners or Saturdays in the shop or who practice counting with new inventory coming in. I never really noticed these shop kids before I opened a shop, or I suppose before we had Caleb, but I wonder when these kids will start figuring out things are a little different for them. As Jon and I were contemplating the next few weeks of packing orders into the night, I said to Jon that things will be much easier once Caleb is old enough at least to start pulling orders, half in jest. This is the busiest time of year for us, as we have shipments arriving from around the world to be counted and stacked on shelves, or in boxes in front of shelves, as we see more and more faces coming through our doors, as we answer questions over email and phone, as we pack up orders and rush them out the door. I love the rush and the new things and the smell of fresh paper, but being open seven days a week during this time a year is also a choice we made while thinking about Caleb, and soon for the baby, and how we want them to remember Christmas. But the truth of it is that as much as Caleb will get older and will start having more and more responsibilities, I still want him to experience all the wonder of childhood. The post is titled Holiday Hours, which is literally what it's about - the hours the shop will be open this holiday season - but it's also sort of a few thoughts on how we're spending these holiday hours, these fleeting moments, during this blessed and beautiful time, especially while these babes are still babes. We're open seven days a week in December, and running some very long days (and nights), but I still want to go on a few Christmas adventures and celebrate our own traditions. Is it not a rite of passage for any Torontonian to face the holiday crowds at Eaton's Centre at least once, if only to come back empty-handed and catatonic? I want to trek out of the city for a Christmas tree, or make it to the Distillery District for the Christmas market, or get some eggnog,** which I'm sure Caleb will find gross. Or maybe not, Caleb's into some pretty strange things for a kid. In any case, it's a constantly wavering balance to try and keep the magic of the season alive for bright eyes waiting for Santa, while keeping an analogue business afloat.
***In case you missed it, we named the baby Naomi. With Caleb, he settled into the name very quickly, but this baby has seemed to be a nameless for quite some time. It's hard to predict how babies will grow into their names - a lot of pressure to get it right. And who knows if we did... In other news, Chicken continues to educate me on the lives of cats. Sometimes it's these small wonders in life that keep you alive. We temporarily moved our mirror to the floor, and Chicken has been thoroughly agitated by the presence of another cat - "another cat" - and has been doing his best to beat him up. Ears back, paws out: how we all should approach the tough times in life. Chicken has spent an astounding amount of time stalking back and forth in front of the mirror, up on his hind legs, scratching and pawing at this doppelganger. I know this because I put the baby down for her naps on the bed from which this photo is taken, and I have to keep trying to shoo him away. It's crazy because I think Chicken forgets this other cat is there in between each boxing session: every once in a while he'll walk in front of the mirror, and be startled by this "new" cat and go through the exact same routine again. Caleb, of course, thinks it's just hilarious. I don't know that Super is any sort of genius dog but I'll give him that he leaves a mirror to be a mirror. Then again, he is, indeed, the dog who tried to attack a large lamp someone left beside a garbage bin on the street, so perhaps to each his own. Currently reading: Kyo Maclear's The Letter Opener Currently eating: persimmons by the box Currently writing: in a B6 slim Midori MD notebook, with a Pelikan M200 (Diamine Ochre), Pilot Custom 92 (Sailor Grenade), Caran d'Ache Swiss Wood pencil (ugh this pencil is too delicious to bear) Currently dreaming of: butter chicken and naan Latest heard from the mouth of babes (Caleb): "Baby Jesus doesn't like the sheep. He only likes the moose." *When I need a pick-me-up, I order a box of Pilot disposable B2P gel pens for the thrill of it. I have several lovely boxes of them hiding in my stationery cupboard. **I'm really into this eggnog from Harmony which I'm determined to hunt down this year. The last few years of the shop I missed out on it because we were too busy and Harmony only produces it seasonally, but no more of that too-busy nonsense.