Christmas Shopping Memories

I'm not normally a shopping person, but I love Christmas shopping. It's fun to match just the right gift to each personality. I've never had much money, so half the challenge is getting the most for my dollar.

When I was a girl, my parents would give my brothers and me five dollars each to buy presents. You couldn't buy much with that now! I don't remember what I chose for gifts, but I do remember seeing my 8 year old brother with this huge wooden tobaggan in the check-out line.

"You can't buy that! It costs too much!" I told him, as a bossy big sister.

"Yes, I can!" he said. "Look at the sticker."

Sure enough it said $1.77 . I couldn't understand how it could be so cheap. So, I waited with him. Even the cashier didn't understand the sticker. (back before bar codes) She buzzed for a manager and they found another sled (something we didn't think of as children) and said that it was $177.00! My brother almost cried, he was so disappointed.

With my own family, we've had numerous interesting shopping experiences. It's quite an adventure to go Christmas shopping with eight kids in one vehicle!

By the time all eight were born, we owned a twelve passenger Chevy van. (I loved that big old thing!) We chose a Saturday and all piled into the van. We gave each child ten dollars to buy presents for each other. If they had other money, it was a bonus, allowing them more choices.

The best place was the Dollar Store. I loved it because there was only one door, and the store was small enough that it didn't take much to keep track of where people were. Each child would grab a basket and we would assign a younger, non-readers, to an older child or adult and they could then scatter to shop by themselves. They never had to worry about prices and could pay for their purchase without me.

Back at the van, each one "hid" their bags under their seat, and woe to anyone who peeked in the wrong bag!

As they got older, with jobs and more money, the stores became more numerous and expensive. I still had them buddy-up with a sibling when they scattered in the mall or WalMart, agreeing on a time to meet at the van.

My husband and I like a quaint store in the little town of Lincoln. Although it is a Marden's, a chain of stores that sell overstocked or damaged items, this store was once a old Woolworths store. It still has the warped wooden floors. You never know what you'll find in there, and the prices are great.

One family tradition we developed was to get up super early on Christmas Eve morning. We have breakfast at Dysarts', a 24 hour truck stop, then go to WalMart that has been open all night. By then, our main gifts have already been purchased, so it's mostly stocking stuffers and gag gifts.

Then came the whispers and secrets and trying to find the scissors and scotch tape!


Laury said...

Sounds like lots of fun in your house at Christmastime, Vonnie!

LauraLee Shaw said...

I love these memories! I feel so bad for your brother and that sled! But yes, the dollar store is a huge help for sure! Thanks, and I love your holiday blog design. It's beautiful!

Elizabeth said...

:) Dollar Tree is the best invention of whatever century it was invented in. This being the first year I can drive, I have taken on the task of taking each brother to do their shopping. I've really enjoyed it. They each get their own special day to go shop, and thanks to some coupons I have, we eat lunch at Subway. It's been a good way for me to spend time with them as well as help my parents. I definitely think Christmas shopping can be turned into some awesome memories. :)


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