For the past few years my stepfather has been living part-time in Paris. He has always traveled frequently for work, but his current project is based in Paris. Due to my influence, both he and my mother are well-acquainted with the BABY the Stars Shine Bright boutique in Paris. (They have also visited the shop that sells Angelic Pretty, but I can tell they have a preference for BtSSB.) Since introducing my parents to the shop, their attitudes towards my hobby have changed dramatically. My mother used to remind me with a sigh that frilly clothes were not something that grown women spend their money on. Now she has her own BABY point card.
As they are both familiar with the shop, I’ve stopped asking for particular gifts for holidays. If I say nothing, they’ll select their own choice from the BtSSB shop. For me, lolita clothing or accessories is always the perfect present! Receiving lolita gifts is the sort of thing I didn’t think would ever be really possible; my mother is unlikely to shop online for something expensive from overseas. She has no problem stepping into a shop, however; particularly a shop that she can easily travel to on her own while visiting my stepfather, or one that she can send him to if necessary.
Shopping at the BABY the Stars Shine Bright Paris shop isn’t exactly budget-friendly. Lolita garments have always been expensive to start with, but the exchange rate between the yen and euro impact the shop’s prices–and then my mother also has to consider the exchange rate between the dollar the euro. French import taxes also play a role in the pricing of items in the shop. A pair of socks might not look like an impressive present to the untrained eye, but I know how expensive they can be! For this reason, I never expect to get certain items. There are things I would never dream of hinting about. I don’t want to take advantage of my mother’s kindness by bleeding her wallet dry. That’s why I have my own job and my own budget–so that I can buy my own luxuries. I take pride in that.
So on Christmas morning, when I sat in the living room of my mother’s house with my family and we unwrapped the presents that Santa* had left, I got quite a shock! I must have been very good this year. When I opened my first gift and found socks from BtSSB, I was thrilled! ♥ Then I opened another box and found a blouse! And then another box with a cardigan! And another with a tricot petticoat! At that point, I almost thought I was hallucinating. Every gift I unwrapped was from the BtSSB shop!
I couldn’t believe it when I unwrapped all these beautiful things! It was very touching. I nearly cried, but my family would never believe that.
Mentally, I couldn’t help totaling up the cost of everything I unwrapped, feeling increasingly spoiled and potentially undeserving. Previous holidays had featured one blouse or one cardigan or one pair of socks…having all of them together seemed like too much. I appreciated being lucky enough have all of these things loving picked out and purchased for me, but I worried about how much it must have cost. When I opened the final box with my name on it I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Usakumya slippers are probably the cutest little slippers I have ever seen! I like slippers, and I have some adorable slippers already, but these take the cake!
The last gift was these adorable usakumya slippers~ ♥ They’re soft, they’re a really nice shade of yellow, they have cute little embroidered eyes, and little pink bows above their ears. Since these are slippers, they don’t have actual teddy bear ears under their bunny ears; that would be too fiddly. As I admired them, my mother explained that she had seen them in the Paris shop and had to have them. However, the slippers were part of a promotion that required you to spend a certain value of euros to qualify to receive them, so she painstakingly picked out every other item to hit that target. I love the image this conjures up for me of my mother and one of the shop girls, wandering around the store and trying to find items that she wanted to buy AND that would accumulate to the required purchase to bring home the slippers. We then spent a few minutes on the computer where she tried to show me some shoes she had really liked that they didn’t have in my size, which she had then contemplated buying for herself.
I feel so lucky to have received so many wonderful things from my family. Not just because I love lolita fashion, but because it really shows how much love and effort they are willing to put into the holidays. It would be a lot easier to buy something else, something that isn’t “weird” and something that doesn’t require being in another country. It makes me feel very loved to know that my mother accepts and encourages my hobby. I wish that everyone could have that same kind of acceptance~ ♥
*Santa visits my mother’s house, and probably will always visit her house. The only presents under the tree until Christmas morning are those from my siblings and the ones my husband and I bring with us. The stockings are empty. It’s a tradition that I really value, even though I’m an adult!