It's no secret that I love the holidays and with our huge family- we do a ton of Christmas shopping. I always start several months early, sometimes even mid-September, but it never fails that I'm running around like a mad-woman the week before Christmas, picking up last minute gifts and tweaking my list. For me, Christmas shopping isn't just about the hustle and bustle- it's about the experience. I love taking Zach and Bear along and making a day of it rather than just running in the mall and fighting overwhelming crowds and mile-long check-out lines. That's why every year, we head to River Oaks Shopping Center to spend some quality family time and finish marking off everyone on our list.
It never fails that when we pull up to park at River Oaks Shopping Center, Bear asks excitedly, "Are we on vacation?" as soon as he sees the rows of beautiful palm trees. I wish, son, I wish. But luckily the whole experience does feel a lot like vacation, with such an incredible store and restaurant selection. Our favorites are the large two story Barnes & Noble where we can score great gifts for everyone on our list (did you know they even carry Vera Bradley?!) and California Pizza Kitchen. CPK currently has my very favorite thing in the entire world- I'm obsessed with their pumpkin cheesecake. It's even better than the one they have at The Cheesecake Factory, in my opinion, and that's saying something. It's just a seasonal treat though, so you have to hurry in before it's gone! My entire family are bookworms, so I enjoy picking out a special hardback for each of them each year at Barnes & Noble and writing a message inside the cover. Bear always loves picking out a new Christmas book there, too!
After a yummy lunch at CPK, we'll usually pop in V's Barbershop to get the boys looking all spiffy for the holidays. It's such a treat for them to get a haircut in a "real" barbershop, and Bear always feels like such a big boy getting his hair cut next to Daddy. Zach prefers to get The Works, which is a shampoo and haircut, shave, and shoe shine. While they're doing that, I'll run in Starbucks to grab a vanilla latte or my seasonal favorite, a Peppermint White Hot Chocolate. I also take this opportunity to peruse Brooke Feather, and usually end up picking up a new holiday outfit for myself. I know, I know, I'm supposed to be Christmas shopping. Don't tell the boys!
It's truly a treat for our family to visit the River Oaks Shopping Center every year around Christmas, and it's a tradition that we plan on keeping alive for years to come. Everyone leaves happy after the delicious dining, quality shopping, and overall family-friendly environment the center entails. The weather is always so nice in Houston this time of year that we love getting outside rather than shopping at an indoor mall. The palm trees are even covered in Christmas lights, much to Bear's delight. This shopping center allows us to experience the holidays in such a special and magical way that I never want to forget; these days of Christmas-anticipation are some of my very favorite all year. Happy Holidays to you and yours!
*A big thank you to River Oaks Shopping Center for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.