Saturday, December 22, 2007

December 19 - Christmas Shopping

How did your family handle Christmas Shopping? Did anyone finish early or did anyone start on Christmas Eve?

Ah, Christmas shopping -that's just what I was doing today...

I'm not sure about my brother, but I know I used to Christmas shop early at rummage sales and bazaars when I was young- a pretty little Chinese vase for mum (I have one still), an Ellery Queen mystery for Dad, and probably a little truck for my little brother, and maybe some bath salts from Woolworth’s for Na (what ever happened to bath salts anyway?).

We made things too – at school or at Sunday School. Partly this was because I had very little money of my own. My allowance was once 25 cents every 2 weeks, but I was always paid a bit for helping in the family office, and later I had a Star Weekly paper route. (Who remembers the Star Weekly, 1910-1973?) Partly it was because I was at a lot of sales - as soon as I was big enough, I was 'volunteered', and there were lots of sales through the year with good stuff - held to raise money for the church, my brother's band, school, and my mum and Na's various ladies' groups.

My mum must have started shopping early too as she was always well organized. I know she had Christmas lists since she wrote them in shorthand, so that my brother and I couldn't get any hints!

She and my dad ran a business, so there couldn't have been much time for either to shop. (I doubt my dad did much shopping anyway - he was the Christmas-Eve-tree-shopper). The other reason I'm sure mum was an early shopper is because early on she would warn us well away from the 'attic room' where she kept her sewing fabric and the odd boxes, like those with the Christmas decorations. That's where any presents were hidden.

My dad was the Christmas Eve day shopper, I bet. I remember a few presents he got mum - some she didn't like! One year though he registered her for a 'present a month' club that someone had told him about. Every month she got something from a different country - I remember a crystal deer from Sweden and a ceramic box from Czechoslovakia. Even then I thought this was a wonderful idea. (Still do!) Another year he bought her some Charlie perfume - she did like that, and from the time I was about twelve, we nicknamed mum 'Charlie'. (Better than calling out for 'mum' in public.)

For more about Christmas shopping, see the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, December 19:

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