Dear Blog Readers,
We have become the kind of blogger we never wanted to be — the kind who has a "read our blog" button on our website but the newest post is months old. We blame Facebook for this — it's so much easier to write something there and we seem to have more followers there than we did here on the blog. Still, we can't quite bring ourselves to give it up altogether yet — so instead, we're posting this little note to explain our lack of current entries. Please do check out our facebook page, we think it's fun, if not quite as long form.
sincerely, the Joie de Blogger.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

We've been selling party poppers for twenty years - little plastic bottles with a cardboard bottom. Pull the attached string and you get a loud bang, streamers, confetti, and bonus, smell of gunpowder. At 15 cents each, 7 for a dollar, its quite a bang for your buck. I reordered them a few weeks ago. They didn't come. The packing list read discontinued. Oh no - and so close to New Year's Eve! I had to find a new supplier fast. It's the sort of item you buy from giant novelty companies - my tin toy distributor in Connecticut stocking them had been a happy oddity. Luckily, I had done some business with a novelty company in Nevada - a quick check of their catalogue, one phone call, and they were on their way. They arrived this week, just days before the 31st. Disaster averted !! and a very Happy New Year to all!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

You Better Watch Out

While making a cup of tea this afternoon I found myself singing a jazzy version of "Santa Claus is coming to town." When I got to "he knows when you are sleeping," I suddenly remembered one of our less popular holiday items - a sculpture of a woman sleeping in her bed. Santa Claus stands right next to the bed, gazing at her intently. The caption written across the bottom of the stand says "he sees you when you're sleeping." I thought it was very funny, but we didn't sell one. Several people told me that they found it slightly creepy. I still think it's funny, but to quote another song: it goes to show you never can tell!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


One more day left before Christmas. When I was in high school, I had a job in a gift shop; that job lasted on and off for ten years and influenced me a lot but that's another story. To continue: the owners of the shop had no children, and one year, I asked them what they did on Christmas day. They told me that they drove into New York, checked into the Plaza Hotel, and didn't leave their hotel room (or bed) for the entire day. I didn't understand this at all - thought it was completely crazy. Why wouldn't they want to be out and about, celebrating with friends? Now - after my 26th season at Joie de Vivre - though I love seeing my family and friends - I think I understand!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Wonderland!

The world is white this morning. White and silent, except for the hum of the heat, the purr of the cat on my lap, and the scraping sound of the occasional plow going by. Luckily, I don't live too far from Joie de Vivre, and neither does the Sunday crew, so we will be open for those brave souls who venture out. This happened last year too - a big snowstorm on the weekend before Christmas. I love snow, I really do . . . but my enjoyment is a bit tainted this morning by the knowledge that business will suffer. Oh well - you can't control the weather! We'll just have more time to help the shoppers that make it in . . . maybe we'll open a bottle of wine. For now, I'll drink my coffee and take in the snow show before I go out and start to shovel it. Hope to see some of you later!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I hope they're okay . . .

We have customers that we see only once a year, yet after 25 years in business it seems like we know them pretty well. And some of the toddlers from our earliest days are married with their own kids . Others of our customers have gotten - how to say it? - older - so I worry about them if I don't see them. I'm thinking of one particular couple who have come to shop faithfully in late November for many many years. They would bring a list of everyone in their family, and usually managed to cross everyone off the list. Then they'd go for lunch at the Thai restaurant next door. The last few years, I've noticed them getting a little more shaky . . . and maybe a bit crotchety the way people do when they have physical problems . . . and they didn't come this year. It's strange to think I will probably never know what happens to them . . . Joie de Vivre was a constant in their lives . . . but things change, and of course, even though they liked to come here . . . we're just a store they shopped in. It might be the economy, but they must be in their 80s, so more likely its their health. I hope they're okay.

Monday, December 14, 2009

We're number #21 !

It's always been difficult for me to estimate how many of any given item we will sell during the holiday season. I've always found it hard to grasp how much more of everything we sell in December - even in a slow year/difficult economy. Are we really going to sell 150 Food Face plates - or am I completely crazy? This year, there's a new factor - our web site. I got an email from a gentleman in Texas. He wanted a dozen Daily Mood calendars to give his office mates. We had them, and when I spoke to him to take his order (we're modern enough to have a good website but old fashioned enough not to have an online shopping cart) he told me he had gone down the google list of sites selling this item. We were the 21st site he tried and the first to have stock. And suddenly our Daily Mood stock was seriously depleted. So even if I try to predict how many of an item we're going to need at Joie, our customers now have new competition from internet shoppers. Brave new world - and something to think about - in January, after all this holiday shopping is over!

Friday, December 11, 2009


Since we're already practically sleeping here, what's another six hours? Come join us for the now annual Midnight Madness shopping extravaganza. We stay open til midnight - along with another half dozen great stores in the neighborhood. We will have chocolate, cookies, wine and seltzer to get you through the night, and you can shop until our cash register turns into a pumpkin at the stroke of twelve. Or here at Joie - til the elephant cuckoo clocks trumpets, and the bird clock sings. We'll be decked out in jingle bells and silly Christmas hats - come join us!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dear Readers

Hello, dear readers. I don't actually have any idea how many of you are out there - but - I'm going to ask for your patience with Joie de Blog for December - it's getting to be "I have ten million things to do and only two weeks to do them" time! After 25 "Holiday Seasons" you might think I'd have it down - but not really. Every day in December, I wake up hopeful, with a list of way too many things I plan to accomplish - and I barely get to half of them. And when I started this blog, I swore I would post at least two or three times a week - I'm worried I may not keep to my promise this month. I'll try. In the meantime . .. what am I going to give my mother this year?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Trying to Save It in Pictures

Three generations were shopping at Joie yesterday - grandmother, a very pregnant mother, and a little girl who looked about two. The daughter was very interested in everything - I was keeping half an eye on her, to make sure she didn't reach for anything dangerous or breakable. After finishing with a customer I glanced at her - she was wearing our large chicken bag slung over one shoulder and the koi bag on the other. She looked - adorable. My camera was sitting in the back room, and I asked her Mom if I could snap a picture. "Sure," said Mom, so I ran and grabbed it. By the time I returned, koi and chicken bags were on the floor and little girl had wandered off. "She loves to wear things," said her mother, and started trying to convince her daughter to put the bags back on. No deal. "Show us how you wear a bag," she cajoled. But it's hard to recreate a cute moment like that. Realizing the moment was over, I tried to convince Mom to stop trying - but it took her awhile to give up on the photo op. Sometimes, you just can't save things in pictures!