“Every gift which is given, even though is be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.”

Today is sunny, windy and cold. The sun is muted, almost hazy. The pine branches sway a bit in the breeze. The day will keep getting colder so tonight will be a down comforter, stay warm night. It is a winter day at its best.

My back is better: less painful, mostly stiff. The lazy day I had yesterday was the perfect elixir. I have a few things to do today but nothing strenuous. I really need to decorate those trees. They are small so they won’t take too long. That will be my afternoon project.

My uptown had both a Grants and a Woolworths when I was a kid. Grant’s seemed to draw old ladies who spent time in the notions and cloth departments. The Woolworth’s Five and Dime was my favorite and the best of all stores. It had a bit of magic about it because you could find almost anything. It was where I Christmas shopped every year around this time. I needed five presents which had to total a dollar, a huge amount of money in those days. I walked up and down the aisles looking for those perfect gifts. My father was first as he was always the easiest: white handkerchiefs. He used them all the time, and I gave him new ones every Christmas the whole of his life. He was never a Kleenex guy. I sometimes bought my mother perfume in small decorated glass spray bottles, the ones with that little pump ball you pressed to make the spray work. Other times I’d buy a small sewing kit which had a few buttons just in case. Once in a while I’d buy her a pocketbook to read. I’d be drawn by the cover. Once I’d finished with my parents, it was on to my sisters and brother. They were really easy. Woolworth’s had a great toy section. The counter had wooden divides, and the toys, at eye level, were inexpensive. A balsa wood plane was for my brother. We all knew from experience that they flew best outside. If you flew them in the house, the tail section usually broke when the plane hit something. I remember how the wing slid into the plane’s body, and that had to be done gently. For my sisters, I had so many choices. There were plastic baby bottles for dolls. They had pretend milk which seemed to disappear as you feed your doll. Small plastic dolls were another choice. Their drawback was they dented, especially the faces, and once dented, they stayed that way. There were plastic balls, jacks and jewelry, mostly bracelets. I always got my sisters the same thing. It made it easier that way.

When I got home with my treasures, I’d wrap them behind the closed-door of my room. I think back then I used miles of scotch tape, but I always thought the gifts looked beautiful. I’d finish then go downstairs and ceremoniously place them under the tree. I’d move them about until the scene was perfect to my eye. I was always so proud of those gifts.

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30 Comments on ““Every gift which is given, even though is be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    Goodbye to The Christmas Card

    And so strings would be strung and ribbons would be hung and as each Christmas card arrived, and we had two deliveries a day, then it would be proudly displayed with others either vertically or horizontally. My Grandfather kept copious notes on who had or had not sent a card and allowed one skip year before the dreaded exile.

    Some where in the 60s my Mum found a large cardboard Christmas tree with slots to hold each card and eliminated the familiar strings. The cards were meeting the same fate as the paper chains.

    Today, I am a boomerang card sender – if I get one, I send one back but more likely I am skyping or facetiming to catch up.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I remember those twice a day deliveries. We’d take turns opening the ones of The Ryan Family and every now and then I’d get one, always one from my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Lorrie.

      My mother held with a two year rule before the “dreaded exile” and the throwing away of the address card.

      We hung them around the doorways and picture window.

      I enjoy giving and getting Christmas cards still. I have to do mine and vow to finish them tonight.

      • Hedley Says:

        All Christmas cards were associated with a specific charity. No running over to the local Hallmark (sic) and buying a box.

  2. Bill S. Says:

    During the fifties my brother, dad and I would go to Malley’s Dept. Store in New Haven Conn. They had a large area with wrapped gifts, and for 10 cents we could “fish” for gifts by snagging the string around each gift with their poles. The gifts were usually a comic book or coloring book, but for a dime what do you expect. Those were good gifts and wonderful times.

    These b&w old photos you find are great.

    • katry Says:

      Bill,
      That is so neat-fishing for gifts and only one dime. I love coloring books so one would have been quite the catch.

      I love black and white pictures and have a slew of them in my files. They are so expressive.

  3. olof1 Says:

    Over here it was NK and Grand. Nk was for the more wealthy people and usually had the best Christmas display in their windows. Grand was for us less rich 🙂 But I honestly can’t remember anything I bought as a kid. Later on I realized none of us had the same taste in anything so I decided it was better to spend all that money on buying a gift to myself 🙂

    I remember those balsa planes, had several myself and I also remember them breaking if thrown indoors 🙂 But they were cheap and coukld be bought in the drug store nearby.

    Cloudy, windy and warm here today, my little car was tossed around on the street and no one dared to pass me 🙂 Sometimes it would be nice if that little ar of mine weighed lots more 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      It seems every small town had at least either a Grants or a Woolworths. Even Boston and London each had at least one. Both stores had fairly inexpensive stuff so they were great places for kids to shop.

      They were only a dime at one point-darn cheap.

      I remember my last car used to do the same thing in the wind. The one I have now is much bigger, and it holds the road well.

      Have a great evening!

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    We had Woolworths and Grants, too. Later on one of them left and was replaced by Newbury’s.
    I remember buying my mother awful china knickknack animals. One of them even had fake fur stuck on it.
    I thought they were beautiful. She must have thought some of them were nice, too, because I found several of them in her room a few years ago when I cleaned it out.
    Either that or she was just the same kind of pack rat I am and never got around to chucking them. 🙂

    It’s colder than midnight on Pluto and I guess it’s going to get even colder than that. The sun was shining brightly but now is setting. The sky is that lovely, tender blue that you only see in winter when it’s bloody cold.

    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I don’t think I know Newbury’s. Ben Franklin is a similar store, and there is still one in Chatham. I love to roam the aisles.

      I remember those small animals, but I don’t remember the fur. That would have attracted me in a minute. Mothers never chuck what their kids give them. My mother had saved cards going back years.

      It was cold here, but I think it was warmer than off cape. I had one thing to do then came back and got the lights on my trees. Now I have to decorate them, and that won’t take too long. I also folded laundry and washed my comforter. It was a good day for me and my back.

      Have a great evening!

    • katry Says:

      Thanks, Marie

      It is so good to hear from you again! Great song!

      I also wish you a Merry, Merry Christmas!!

    • im6 Says:

      I’m not sure what you THINK I said or did, but it was certainly unintentional. Have a great holiday, Marie.

      • vintagespins Says:

        im6,

        Let’s forget it (if you’re willing), shall we? I seem to be thin-skinned these days only when it comes to my blogs.

        Have a very happy Christmas season!

        Kat,

        I hope you don’t mind, but if so just remove:

        https://app.box.com/s/4107ji71eamu1qrt7nre

        https://app.box.com/s/khtg5vgoxsg51hvhvsx3

        Marie

      • katry Says:

        Marie,
        I have all the Beatles Christmas gifts but they’re on a different external hard drive so it was fun listening again!

        Darlene Love’s song is Christmas for me!

      • im6 Says:

        Forgotten.

        That Darlene Love song is my favorite Christmas song of all time. I live for her annual appearance on Letterman. Do you get Letterman where you are? If not, hope you can see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1VnhC0Qbzo

      • vintagespins Says:

        im6,

        Fantastic! They don’t make ’em like Darlene Love anymore. What a talent! It reminds me . . . I wish somebody would get cracking and release a decent quality Shindig! box set. Have you heard her briefly released (but then withdrawn) Philles single ‘Stumble and Fall?’ If not, let me know.

        Marie

      • im6 Says:

        Darlene is a GODDESS. I was fortunate enough to see her in a club in San Francisco way back when (late 70s/early 80s) and she did NOT disappoint. Thanks, but I have a copy of “Stumble And Fall.” It’s on a Best Of set I have by her. Great! I assume you have her “All Alone On Christmas” from the ‘Home Alone 2’ soundtrack ???

  5. im6 Says:

    My song of the day is a little… energetic! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJpzkYIe6Gc

  6. Bob Says:

    When I was a kid in NYC we called the various variety stores the “Five and Ten”. When I moved to Texas they called them the “Dime Store” and you called it the “Five and Dime”. These variety stores were owned by national or regional chains such as Woolworth, Kresge, H.L Green or W.T. Grant. They were the place to shop when I was kid for inexpensive gifts and novelty items. They had almost anything that you could want on a limited budget. Today they have been replaced by “Family Dollar” or “Dollar General” stores. Even today I enjoy shopping at those dollar stores where I can find the same kind of stuff that I enjoyed as a kid for a dime and now cost at least a dollar. What can you do but chalk it up to inflation. 🙂

    The balsa wood gliders are still being made and they still crack in exactly the same place they cracked when I was a kid sixty years ago. I also enjoyed the ones with the rubber band connected to the propeller. The rubber band always broke when you really wound it up after a couple of flights.

    Today the sun was out and the temperature warmed up to sixty degrees. Now the city has to sweep up all the sand that they put on the streets during the ice storm last week.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      We also called them the Five and Ten. I used Dime here as I think it was more widely known as the Five and Dime. Maybe it was Ten only in the East. We do have a dollar store here, and I like to wander it periodically for some neat, inexpensive stuff. Chatham has a Ben Franklin’s, just like the old Woolworths with wooden floors too.

      I had forgotten about those elastic ones. They did seem to last longer than the balsa wood ones.

      I just got up and shut the back door. The dog door lets the cold air in, and I could feel it all the way down the hall. It is going to be a cold night.

      • Bob Says:

        I did a Google search for five and dime stores in Dallas and non showed up. However, I found this one in Houston called Variety Fair. It looks like the real deal. I thought all the Ben Franklin stores were out of business.

        http://varietyfair.com

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        That is such a great store. It has all the stuff I bought as a kid and funny stuff like animals ears and noses. I would have had a great time filling stockings from this store. Great find!!

    • im6 Says:

      My little Texas home town had Ben Franklin’s and Duke & Ayers. The best part of them (and the thing I miss MOST) was the wonderful aroma of boiled peanuts — followed by the great TASTE of those boiled peanuts. How those things were ever allowed to disappear I’ll never know. A nickle bag was a treat; a dime bag was a feast. Of course, “dime bag” came to be known as something much different when I got older 😉

      • Bob Says:

        I don’t know if any small towns in Texas still have “Dime” stores. I imagine if they still exist they would be located on the Courthouse Square. Maybe they still have boiled peanuts? Which little Texas home town do you hail from?

      • im6 Says:

        I’d rather not name the town, but it’s just a few miles west of you. Close enough that I listened to KLIF when I was in high school and watched Sump’N Else on Channel 8 after school. And, yes, it does have a courthouse square, but no dime stores are there anymore.

      • katry Says:

        im6,
        Mine had the aroma of just popped corn. You could smell it on the sidewalk as you walked by the store. I don’t think I have ever had boiled peanuts. Here they are roasted.

        I only know one dime bag, the older version!

      • Bob Says:

        I remember KLIF, with Irving Harrigan in the mornings. KLIF was one of the first top 40 rock stations in the country. Of course Irving Harrigan was really Ron Chapman who used his real name when he did Sump’N Else which was broadcast from the NorthPark Mall.


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