Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Memories

I think I've established that I love to thrift. But lately, maybe because I started this blog, I have been pondering just what it is about thrifting that makes me so happy. It's not because I hold out hope that I will find an original copy of the Declaration of Independence pinned inside the frame of some cast-off paint-by-number, although that would be wonderful indeed. It's not because I shirk at paying full price for things, although I was raised by a frugal Yankee and was well-trained to appreciate a good bargain. And it's more than just loving all things old, although I certainly do. It's more than all of that. Truly, I think a lot of what motivates me to thrift is the desire to recapture my childhood. Some of my most treasured thrift finds have been replacements of things that I had as a child, like toys, books, and knick-knacks. Especially since I've had children of my own, something drives me to collect these relics of my past and share them with my children. And yes, I will admit, I love that I get to read all my favorite books and play with my favorite toys all over again! I also search for things that my parents had in our home, things like dishes, holiday decorations, linens, kitchen tools, clocks...the list really could go on and on. It is actually quite amazing how things that I once scorned, I now scour thrift stores for! For example, my mother had a rather unattractive trivet in her kitchen. It was probably from the 1950s, with an iron base and white ceramic top, and it read: Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. I can't even remember if it was hanging on the wall or if it sat on the crowded counter top. I remember disliking it, thinking it was so dated (and not in a cool way) and no one wanted it when it came time to sell the family home and clean out all the accumulated stuff that resided in it. But now? Now, I want that trivet so much I can taste it. I hunt for it every time I go out to a thrift, antique shop, or flea market. I have yet to see it, not even once. But I know that someday, when I'm least expecting it, I will find that trivet, probably in a box of junk somewhere, probably for just a quarter or two, and whomever I am with that day will shake their head at me and wonder. But to me, it will bring me right back to all the times I spent with my mother, baking and chatting together in our small kitchen, and I will be so happy.  

I received another gift of thrift in the mail the other day, this time from my dear friend Kristen. Sometime last spring, she and I had been at one of our favorite thrift emporiums and we both bought large boxes of Christmas ornaments. The management had been so sneaky, mixing in a few beautiful vintage pieces with some worthless new ball ornaments, and pricing it as a lot, but we didn't really mind. I remember that when we unpacked the boxes, we saw that she had a beautiful vintage Santa ornament in her lot. I told her that I always looked for those, because when I was little, we had two of those same ornaments on our Christmas tree every year. Years and years ago, I paid $8 for just one Santa ornament in an antique store even though it was only in fair condition, just so I could have at least one on my tree.

my $8 Santa ornament
And so when I opened up my little package from Kristen and saw her precious little Santa ornament tucked in along with a few other vintage balls, I was so touched.

My new Santa ornament from Kristen

It's in nearly perfect condition, and the colors are just beautiful. Now my tree is complete, and when I decorate it every year, I will not only be reminded of my very happy childhood Christmases, but also of the more recent happy times I've spent with my friend.

Kristen also tucked in another couple of gifts. One was a tiny little vintage New Testament to go with  my collection of vintage Anglican Prayer Books and Hymnals. It has the most delightful inscription:

"This book will keep you from sin, and sin will keep you from this book. To Dorothy from Aunt Margaret, August 1922"

Wise words, indeed!

The other thing was this Santa sleigh card holder, still in its original package. Please forgive the poor photography!

I hope you all are having a lovely Christmastime, enjoying time with friends and family and all those who are dear to you, making memories together that will last a lifetime. Enjoy, my friends!

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