I have always been someone who loves the mall. When I was young and single I’d walk that mall like nobodies business, hitting store after store and burning plastic until my signature had disappeared off my Visa and the shopping was done for the day.
Although you’d be just as likely to find me lurking in the mall during the summer, spring, and fall, my favourite time of the year to shop was definitely the Holidays. Hustle and bustle? Who cares! Crowds? Bring them on! I loved the decorations, the mall Santa that I’d be sure to get my picture with every year, and the absolute chaos of just being there in the days leading up to Christmas.
So when I had my daughter, my first baby, I thought how cool it would be to take her to the mall. It was the end of November, I no longer felt as big as a house, and I was excited to share with her my passion for all things shopping.
But taking a baby to the mall was sort of an eye-opener. I spent more time in the Mother’s Room feeding her and changing her than I did happily walking the shops. I decided at that point I’d wait until she was a little older, and my trips to the mall became few and far between.
Fast forward a few years and 3 more kids – although I had the time to go to the mall (with 4 kids under the age of 8 and 3 not in school the days were endless), I didn’t dare put myself through that. It’s like they sensed my inability to keep up and they’d split off like dual pinballs ricocheting off the walls. One kid would go toward some ride on toys, another would streak off inside a store, and the third in the stroller would yell because he wanted to chase his brothers.
Was it fun? It was not.
Now that the kids are older, I’ve started to put my toe out there and try the mall again. We live in Vancouver after all, and the inclement weather means taking cover and finding activities indoors. They all tend to listen when I tell them not to run off, and I might even venture a glance inside a store once in awhile, but now that they’re all vocal they tend to complain about how they’re hot, cold, bored, and hungry. Sometimes all at the same time.
Would I take them during the crazy, busy holiday rush? Yeah, I don’t think so.
So imagine how intrigued I was when I received an invitation from MomCentral and RBC to visit the RBC Avion Holiday Boutique. Something that could take a stressful trip to the mall and tone it down a little? Someone to PARK MY CAR and HAVE IT READY FOR ME when I leave instead of letting me drive up and down aimlessly looking for a parking spot in the pouring rain? Someone to wrap my gifts? Holy Moses, sign me up.
My husband and I are long time Avioners, and we’ve experienced first hand how awesome it is to have that card in our wallets. Not only has it saved our skin a few times with the retail purchase protection, but one memorable trip to LA when we were stranded outside the airport due to flooding that card completely covered us when the airline we were on would not. I have told my friends, my family, and anyone else who listens how awesome RBC and the Avion card is, so being able to hit up the RBC Avion Holiday Boutique and be treated like a VIP during the Holidays really is just icing on the cake.
Our first stop at Coquitlam Centre was to drop off our car with the RBC Avion Valet Parking. As I’ve suffered from near collisions in crazy busy parking lots during the Holidays, let me just say it was so, so, very nice to just hand over the keys and walk into the mall.
Once in the mall, I counted heads (1,2,4, where’s 3?) and headed off to do some holiday shopping before our visit to the lounge. I had a list and a plan, but of course when you have these guys in tow, things tend to go off course a bit.
First stop was hot chocolate. Then we did some hanging outside of Santa’s Workshop with the hope that we could get a Santa picture. One major meltdown on behalf of the 4 year old thwarted that plan, and no one wanted to wait while Dad explored the possibility of an iPhone 5S.
½ hour into the experience and I was wondering why I was there, why I was the only one carrying jackets, and how exactly I could stuff 10 Christmas presents under my stroller without them seeing.
It was, to say the least, extremely frustrating. And that’s when I decided it wasn’t a minute to soon to drop into the RBC Avion Holiday Boutique for some R&R.
The RBC Avion Holiday Boutiqe is dazzling white, decorated in sparkling lights and huge oversized Christmas gifts, and it smells like a heavenly combination of coffee and chocolate. In short, it is an oasis in the middle of a mall full of grouchy, hungry people. A dangerous combination for sure.
Flashing my RBC Avion Visa card, I was invited in to try the snacks, have a hot drink, and relax on the white leather chairs. I checked our coats with the coat check, asked about the gift wrapping service (which I took full advantage of), and basically just tuned out the insanity for a few minutes while I sipped my green tea.
The kids loved the Godiva chocolate spoons and the smiling guy behind the coat check, my husband loved the chocolate covered pretzels and the ability to sit and surf Instagram without feeling pulled at, and I loved the blissful atmosphere.
Looking around at the people on the other couches, you could see they weren’t stressed or crazed, they were smiling, which was, trust me, rare in that mall that day.
Although I was a little embarrassed at how my kids polished off and dropped a few chunks of chocolate on the all-white table (sorry to anyone from there reading this), they were so thrilled to be there. The bickering stopped, they posed for pictures with the huge gift, smiled while they devoured the treats, and even ate a few apples.
My 10 year old probably summed it up best when he said, “Mom, it’s awesome that you’re a VIP because so am I!”
If I weren’t already an Avioner, I would have desperately wanted to be after that experience. And as we hopped into our warm car without having to do anything but walk out of the mall exit, the only thing I was wondering about was how soon I could get back there. It really did take the sting out of Holiday shopping with the family.
But the RBC Avion Holiday Boutique is really only one perk of having the RBC Avion Visa. We’ve had the card for over 5 years and we’ve accumulated 1 point for every dollar we spend. It lets this family of six travel (it takes me to Disneyland ever year, which makes it my BFF as far as I’m concerned), and it has purchase and trip protection that I can honestly say is second to none.
We’ve cracked computer screens and missed flights that have been completely covered by the RBC Avion, and you can’t just put a price on that kind of peace of mind. Check out the RBC Infinite Avion and RBC Platinum Avion perks for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.
The Holidays are officially upon us, so there’s no better time to get Avion and get yourself to a mall to enjoy the same VIP experience I did in the RBC Avion Holiday Boutique.
Or use your points and get yourself to a sunny beach somewhere. Really, it’s good for both.
Happy Holidays and be sure to check out #AvionVIP on Twitter and Facebook!
Disclosure: I am part of the RBC Avion Holiday Boutique Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.