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A downside to running my own business is trying to get time off, especially time off with Fred as he is my right hand man in Novel Toy. It seems every year that the best time for us to get away is over Christmas and New Years. Many of my clients close their doors during the holidays and therefore demand on the business is down. Unfortunately it is also the busiest and most expensive time of the year to travel! For the last several years we have gone to Mexico for a warm and sunny break over the holidays but this year we decided to do something different. We planned a trip to New Orleans and San Destin, Florida.

Prior to leaving we always host an early Christmas dinner for our family which includes our parents, our children and their spouses and an occasional friend. I always cook a turkey with all the trimmings and make it as Christmassy as possible despite the date. Stockings full of small gifts are exchanged and funny hats are worn. Part of our tradition is Christmas baking and most years that includes gingerbread men… and women. I grew up icing gingerbread people in our kitchen at home and have kept that tradition alive with my kids. It was a great dinner this year, full of fun.

Once the clean up from dinner was done and the extra gingerbread put in the freezer Fred and I made our escape to New Orleans. We had never been to New Orleans and really enjoyed the different feel and energy the city has. After a few days of exploring we rented a car and drove to Florida along the Gulf Coast. Disappointingly we caught the outside edge of a tornado and suffered through torrential rain. Rain so heavy we couldn’t see the landscape we were driving through. Nothing to be done but stop, have a beer and some oysters and hope to wait it out.

The rain continued to follow us all the way to San Destin. While warm, it was awfully wet for much of the time. That was the chance we took going to Florida, especially in an El Nino year. We did our best to enjoy the sights and the wonderful seafood that region has to offer. Next time we’ll wait for spring!

Happy New Year and Gung Hay Fat Choy! Its the Chinese lunar year of the Red Monkey and the monkey is my favourite animal. I am looking forward to the appearance of more monkey toys around Novel Toy headquarters. I can’t resist monkeying around 🙂

Our next trip is a weekend in Las Vegas for a big toy show in late February. I’ll keep you posted.


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