Jan's Blog Flower



Now reading . . .

"Journey into the Whirlwind"
by Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg

"The Wind in the Willows"
by Kenneth Grahame

"Growing Up"
by Russell Baker

by Karin Muller

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Shopping We Will Go

Christmas shopping is either a wonderful time or a horrendous time of pressure and anxiety. Our daughter always has her shopping done very early. She holds the title of the Best Gift Giver in the family. She has an uncanny knack of giving things you really love although you may not have known it earlier.

Mmmm and I are in the stage where we really don’t need things any more but there is a suspiciously large pile of things accumulating in the living room. I am sure we will enjoy every one, whether we need it or not.

During the depths of the depression there was very little money and one year there was no money. That year my oldest sister and Mother made new clothes for our dolls out of scraps left over from sewing dresses for us out of one of Grandma’s old dresses. New faces were painted on our dolls and I am sure there was a lot of whispering and secret huddles as we thought of things we could make to give each other. Almost every one of us think of that as our best Christmas.

There were eight people in our family plus grandpa. Our father would give each of us smaller ones a dollar. That was our budget for Christmas shopping. That meant I would have 12 ˝ cents per person. We pored over the Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Wards Christmas catalogs and racked our brains trying to think of what to buy for 12 ˝ cents. We would dream of what we would like but we had a mission. That mission was to buy gifts for our family. The big shopping day would approach and we would be allowed to go to town with Mom and Daddy to shop. It would be cold and snowy usually so we would be bundled up. As we neared Glendive we would say, “I see Glendive!” and the excitement would be palpable. We would have to wait until Mother sold the cream at the creamery and perhaps other business would have to be transacted but finally we would be able to go to F. W. Woolworth’s 5 and 10 Cent Store.

It was such a wonderful place. There were tables of goods each in a compartment and we were allowed to touch! We carefully examined every table and every counter on every floor. We considered and figured and counted our money over and over again and finally made a decision. I remember one year buying two washcloths, one for each of my younger sisters to use as a towel for her doll. I bought a spool of thread for my mother and I think a comb for my father. I didn’t feel that having only a fringe and a little comb-over would keep him from using it. I probably bought Grandpa a handkerchief and the three older girls each got a pretty peach colored glass dish for her Hope Chest. It was a wonderful feeling to have accomplished all my shopping. We wrapped the gifts and put them under the tree and were as excited about giving as getting, if not more so. We each received one gift from our parents and most of us still treasure at least one of those gifts. I have a little rocker that I received. My Dad called me to the window and said that he thought that Santa dropped something from his sleigh. Sure enough, there in the snow was the rocker. I rocked my dolls in it, Kay used it and little visitors used it. It is up in the garage waiting for the next child that will use it.

Mmmm and I are shopping today. This is something we enjoy every year. Although we are giving each other a fence, windows, a root canal and a bone marrow test, we want to give other amounts where it will make the most difference. We have for several years given gifts through World Vision. I usually check out the rating through Charity Navigator. This is a non-profit group that rates charitable organizations. We usually check out groups before we give to them. We are considering giving a group of animals, called Give the Farm, a fish pond, an alpaca, warm clothes, small business loans, a bicycle, a sewing machine, help for exploited girls, wheelchairs for disabled people, a postnatal kit, and maybe a Mongolian Ger! The catalog says, "It’s not too late to change the world!”

This is more fun and rewarding than any other shopping we do.

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