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Why not shop at home?

            Is anyone Christmas shopping at home this year?  Not from home – at home?  My mom and Husband’s mom gave gifts that were theirs and that have become more valuable, sentimentally and, maybe, monetarily over the years.   

            I remember a Christmas in the late 1980s when I opened a lightweight package from under Mom and Dad’s tree and found a note inside.  I don’t remember exactly what Mom wrote, but my gift was a to choose a framed art print of a painting by Ralph McDonald from those that hung on Mom and Dad’s living room and dining room walls.  Mom had collected McDonald prints and now they were Christmas gifts for us children and spouses and grandchildren, who were teen-agers. 

            I was a surprised.  Mom and Dad liked these prints of wildlife in their natural settings, of frontier men and American Indians, and I couldn’t imagine how their house would look without these pictures.  And I wondered what if more than one of us chose the same print.  Mom explained the plan.  We were each to write the name of one or two favorite prints on a piece of paper and give it to her.  And while our chosen prints would be ours, she and Dad wanted to keep them hanging on their walls for a few more years.

            Mom knew us well – we didn’t choose the same prints.  After her death, when Dad sold their home and moved to a smaller place, Mom’s Ralph McDonald print collection had already been divided.  The Statesman, a picture a mockingbird, has hung on my living room wall since 1992.    

            Husband’s mother often shopped at home. When we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, she gave us a set of glasses, Princess House Heritage pattern juice glasses.  Ann explained that they were really old, may fifty-years old, and she’d bought them at a ‘home party.’  I was always amused when Ann would say, “That’s really old,” a way of saying that’s something valuable and keep it.  I treasure these hand-blown etched crystal glasses and they fit my young Grands’ hands perfectly.  One of my favorite Christmas gifts from Ann was a plain heavy glass butter dish with a domed top that had been her mother’s.  It’s got a few scratches and a chip which reminds me that it set on the family kitchen table when Ann was a child. 

            Not all shop-at-home gifts are sentimental.  I have a gift stash:  Christmas hand towels, fancy napkins, notecards, pens with pom-pom tops, scented candles, magnifying glasses, copies of a favorite devotional book, and even a small decorative pillow.  These are items purchased at discount prices or gifts I’ve received and someone else will enjoy more than me.  (I’m careful not to re-gift to the one who gave the gift!)

            Shopping at home would be a good choice this year, but I’m not sure what’s here for our Grands.  What if I wrapped home things in Christmas packages, and we play a good old-fashion game of Grab Bag?  It could be a new tradition.

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