Christmas shopping in Banff

Alex and I started off the morning with omelettes and The Vinyl Cafe on CBC Radio 2.

We had decided to venture out to Banff for the day to do some Christmas shopping (well, mostly me — Alex is done and I simply haven’t had the time to start, and I’ve got family out east to contend with). The weather was a little chillier than we might prefer, but it was hardly a reason for us to stop.

As we were doing up our shoes to head out, the radio still playing Stuart McLean, we heard him speak of what people did during the Christmas season in various cities across Canada. In Vancouver, it was Van Dusen’s gardens. In Toronto it was to see the displays in the Bay department store. In Calgary … you go to Banff.

We just about died.

The headwind out ruined any chance at fuel efficiency. But this was more about the venture out of town than anything else. Although there was the decided goal to ensure that we walked away with gifts, I was just content to get my butt out of the city and get away from my computer for a day.

I felt rather guilty about this, I should add. I’ve got a team at the office breaking their necks to get us to a deadline for next Friday. I’ve done little actual work on the project thus far, as all of my input has been through guidance, adherence to standards, redirecting efforts, and coordinating items. Managerial crap, in other words. I feel bad because I’ve asked the world of the team, and they’ve delivered. The bane of no longer being a developer, I suppose…

But I needed a day off. I’ve worked all but one day in November. One day off. I needed time out of the city to relax, even it was to do one of the more high-pressure things: Christmas shop. But shopping is something I like doing anyway, so I didn’t mind too much.

After a quick bite at a cafe (a rather nice croquet of brie and ham), we ventured up and down Banff Ave. to find things for the family, near and far. Surprisingly enough, there wasn’t a tonne of people about, so it wasn’t really that bad a choice to drive out to Banff. Despite the 2.5 hour drive there and back, I think it was well worth the effort, since there were so few people about!

Even better, the sales in Banff were better than in Calgary. Roots, for example, had a sale on fleece that was hard to pass up on. I even happened to run into Bill, Eryn, Scott, and Scott’s wife who were out for the day. It was the last place I expected to run into Critical Mass folk.

Actually, not true — Ekaterinburg would be the last place. But then most of them have never heard of it anyway…

We didn’t stay as long as I would have liked, though. Alex and Erin are going out for a concert tonight, so we had to leave around 16:30 to get back in time for Alex to get ready.

We missed out on the hot springs (a near-tradition), and we didn’t get to laze around as much as we normally do. But it was good anyway. Something other than the house and the office was good for a change.

‘Cuz the week coming up is gonna be a tough one.