Sunday, September 18, 2011

Christmas is for children... or is it?

My mom never fails to say it every year... "Christmas is really for children!" No one could really blame her for doing so, especially after seeing the glow in the bright, wide eyes of my younger cousins after they receive their presents. Apparently, there's even a Glen Campbell song from 1968 which says exactly that. But, is it? Well, I'm an unabashed lover of the Christmas season, so I have my doubts.

In my part of the world, we have arguably the longest Christmas season of any country that celebrates it. Everyone watches out for the coming of the "-ber" months, and radio DJs start playing Christmas songs when they do. The twinkle lights and the Christmas lanterns soon follow, and everyone rejoices when the weather starts to cool. The parties are countless, and you go to them anyway even as the traffic gets heavier. No one really takes their Christmas decor down 'till after the New Year, and sometimes, all the celebrating even goes beyond December!

My Christmas season usually starts at the end of October. It's become a tradition at home to put up the Christmas tree for my birthday, because as a kid, I was content with that being my birthday present. My birthday happens to be around Halloween, so you can just imagine the confusion when it comes to the decor. But my mom has always been good at getting the house ready for the holidays, so for anyone who sees it, it's a joy to look at either way. At age 26, I still get excited knowing the tree would be up soon. Just seeing the twinkle lights on the tree gives me a certain feeling that I've always associated with Christmas. You can call it nostalgia or even just excitement, but I just know there's a certain feeling.

Clan and family reunions are a big thing during the holidays, and I attend at least four of them every year. Eating, of course, is the main event at these gatherings. Christmas isn't Christmas without roast beef, lechon (roasted pig), salami and cheese. At this time of the year, the term "overindulge" always seems to disappear from our vocabularies!

I live in the tropics, so the thought of a "white Christmas" just stays that way (although I have experienced one white Christmas). Either way, we all welcome the cooler weather, and often pray it would stay a bit longer than the last Christmas. With every cool breeze that blows, I would rejoice quietly just as I did as a kid.

Well, at this point I have to confess that a lot of the joy I associate with Christmas actually has to do with toys. Yes, toys. Toys are, and will always be a part of that "Christmas cheer". I don't think I've ever outgrown toys, and I doubt that I ever will. I don't think there's any shame in that. I certainly don't complain when I receive gifts that happen to be some sort of toy! As a friend and I would always say, "return to the joy of toys!"
A snowman I made when I was 23.
No, I did not make it for some kid... just for me.
...but aren't we all children?

...I guess by now it's easy to figure out why the thought of Christmas evokes so much nostalgia in me. It just never gets old.

I had never heard of Campbell's song before I started writing this entry, but after I looked up the lyrics, I realized that the song actually sums this all up quite well...

"That same tale is told, 
every Christmas Eve again...
We may think we're old, 
but our hearts can almost believe again...
Christmas is for children
...but aren't we all children?"

I was watching the late night news with my Mom the other night. Before the news anchor signed-off, she announced, "let the countdown begin... 100 days 'till Christmas"!

I'll be counting.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

'tis the Season!

I just posted a teaser on the store's Facebook page and tweeted the same a while ago, but for you who check out the blog once in a while, you get an advanced look at what all this is about!

Spread some joy and cheer and add your own holiday greetings HERE!

Enjoy, and spread the holiday cheer!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Goodbye August!

Well, that's that... August is over, and the so-called "-ber" months are here. Well, it's not just any August, but the end of an extraordinary month for The Old Soul Store --- its best ever! Sales spiked to its highest level since the store went online in December 2008. The big spike put the 8-month sales total for this year already above the whole year's totals for 2009 and 2010! And, as if to put icing on the cake, The Old Soul 2012 New York Calendar which was launched at the end of the month got a Today's Best Award and made it to the Top 10 Calendar Views list!

Since I opened the store, the annual surge in sales would usually come in September, because it seems to be the time of year when a certain Linda from Fenton, Missouri would visit the store and purchase hundreds of copies of this postcard:

This year, she made her big purchase in August.

Over the years, Linda has purchased about 1,300 copies of the postcard (300-500 copies at a time)! I've always wondered what she does with it... Perhaps she owns a souvenir shop over in Fenton and sells these there? I have no clue. Linda, if you happen to stumble across this blog, I would love to hear from you (! Thank you so much for being such a great and loyal customer to the store! You practically, single-handedly put this postcard at the top of the search results for New York postcards on Zazzle. You really put the store on the Zazzle map! I did leave a message on the product wall, so maybe you'll see that the next time you purchase the postcard (and I do hope there will be many next times!).

But aside from Linda's big purchase coming a month earlier than usual, many other buyers came to the store getting more than just single copies of products like they usually do. More took advantage of the volume discounts available. There was hardly a day that went by in August where I did not wake up to email notifications telling me that I made a sale...

Postcards are truly the bread and butter of The Old Soul Store , but a number of customers came in August and liked other types of products as well. I was so happy to have sold my first iPhone 4 case:

I would like to think that this design has some promise, so I used it for other products too:

Anyway, the "-ber" months usually get people thinking about the Christmas season, and I hope that's enough to keep the momentum going for the store. I have a couple of ideas already to take advantage of the Christmas rush, but I hope I get to work on it before I get caught up in the rush myself! Speaking of momentum, looks like someone from California found the store and bought 35 postcards just now... The momentum builder here has quite a familiar look to it if you ask me: