FRONTLINE: Holiday Rituals

Retail Therapy
12 hours on the Black Friday gauntlet.

Retail Therapy
12 hours on the Black Friday gauntlet.

You say it every year: You’re not going to wait until the last minute to do your holiday shopping. But there you are on Christmas Eve, sitting in a line of traffic longer than Santa’s “naughty” list trying to get into the mall to pick up just a few more things. You’re tried, stressed and definitely not merry.

We say spare yourself the grief this year and limit your shopping to one day— specifically, Black Friday. Just imagine having all your shopping done and spending December stringing popcorn, making gingerbread houses and indulging in all those other holiday rituals you can never understand how anyone has the time to do.

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7-8 a.m.: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially on the biggest shopping day of the year. Plan on being stationed outside the door of Ardmore Station Café (6 Station Road, Ardmore; 610-642-3889) when it opens. Order a high-protein breakfast to shake off the sluggish feeling from all that turkey yesterday. And, yes, you will take that coffee refill—you’re looking at a long day ahead of you.

8-10:30 a.m.: After breakfast, walk right down Station Road to Suburban Square (www.suburbansquare.com), where you’ll notice that many amazing stores have opened over the last year. The list includes Free People, Urban Outfitters, Macy’s (formerly Strawbridge’s), Barbour by Peter Elliot, Apple Computer and Eileen Fisher.

10:45-11:15 a.m.: For the guy who’s a teenager at heart, there’s nearby Buckman’s Ski Shop (26 W. Lancaster Ave., 610-658-0470, www.skibuckmans.com). Surprise him with a Burton Shaun White Pro-Model snowboard from The White Collection. Great stocking-stuffers include socks, hats, long underwear, all perfect for hitting the slopes or just heading outside to shovel.

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Arguably the most elegant boutique in Haverford Square, Hope Chest (379 W. Lancaster Ave., Haverford; 610-642-4222) carries a wide selection of the finest European and American lingerie, along with pajamas, stylish tights and body wear, all perfect for that aunt you never know what to get. Make your way around the corner to Children’s Book World (17 Haverford Station Road, Haverford; 610-642-6274; www.childrensbookworld.net), where staffers promise two hot sellers for the season: Flotsam, the latest picture book from visual storyteller David Wiesner suitable for all ages; and Endymion Spring, a mystery, history and adventure book by Matthew Skelton for fourth graders and up. And you can pick up some reasonably priced Secret Santa gifts for kids, like bookmarks and finger puppets.

12:30-1:30 p.m.: You gotta eat, so don’t leave Haverford Square before grabbing lunch at du Jour (379 Lancaster Ave., Haverford; 610-896-4556; www.dujourmarket.com).

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1:30-2 p.m.: After lunch, drop into Spectix Optik (510 Lancaster Ave., Haverford; 610-992-9420; www.spectixoptique.com) to view their extensive selection of world-famous designer frames from the likes of Oliver Peoples and Vera Wang. Perfect place to buy a gift certificate.

2:30-3:30 p.m.: Definitely worth a side trip to King of Prussia Mall, BOSS Orange (across from the existing BOSS Hugo Boss shop in the Plaza; 610-992-1177) features youthful, boudoir-inspired fashions. Originally launched as brand-extension weekend-wear for BOSS Black customers, the Orange line has evolved into a funky, lifestyle collection.

3:30-4 p.m.: Back on the Line, Lucky Duck Toys (106 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; 610-254-0056; www.luckyducktoys.com) has it’s pirates in order. Thanks to the linger success of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean installment, high-seas adventure should remain hot for boys. For little ladies, Groovy Girls dolls are a favorite, along with the not-quite-so-cute Ugly Dolls.

4:15-4:45 p.m.: Artsy types should appreciate anything from Sheila (503 W. Lancaster Ave., Strafford; 610-995-1011) in Spread Eagle Village. Its impressive inventory includes gorgeous work from Carol Maguire and other local artists.

5:15-6 p.m.: At Polkadots in the Paoli Shopping Center (29 Leopard Road; 610-640-2714), Daphne Jeans are a must-have item for your quirky best friend. Interchangeable cuffs can be buttoned on to the bottom of each pair. The red plaid cuff trimmed in black velvet is perfect for holiday get-togethers. Also in the shopping center, Blue Tulip (610-407-2880) offers an array of great gifts, including personalized stationary, mugs, photo albums.

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6:15-7 p.m.: Last but not least, you can’t forget man’s best friend on Christmas morning. Stop at Henley’s A Boutique for Dogs & Cats (113 E. King St., Malvern; 610-296-0100) for monogrammed dog coats and collars. Or, in the spirit of the season, pick up a bow tie in festive holiday plaid or velvet. There’s also a ruffle collar complete with jingle bells. Kids aren’t the only ones who like toys, so don’t leave the store without a Christmas duck that quacks “Jingle Bells” or a holiday doggie that barks “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Christmas might come early for Fido this year, as you’ll have a hard time saving this stuff until Dec. 25.

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