Posted tagged ‘buying presents’

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

December 16, 2011

I was surprised at how warm it felt when I got the papers this morning. The day, from the window, looked cold. The sunlight is steely, and there is a wind blowing even the biggest pine tree trunks back and forth. Last night it rained, and the drops pelted the door and windows. Gracie wasn’t too happy when she had to make her last trip outside before bedtime.

Around this time of year, my school, St. Patrick’s Grammar School, held its annual fair. It was a really big deal and it was held at the huge meeting room in the town hall which had moveable wooden seats, a stage and an orchestra pit under the stage and was where we made our record with Guy Lombardo. On the day of the fair, we only had a half day of school. The nuns would walk us down the street two blocks to the town hall, and, once there, we were free, on our own. The first stop was always for lunch, a hot dog, a rare treat to have the money to buy. It made me feel rich plunking down the money for lunch. That was thanks to my mother who always gave us enough money so we could buy the hot dog and still have some left to buy a few gifts for the family. Tables ringed the room, and on them were all sorts of gifts for Christmas. I could buy crochet doilies, knitted mittens and hats, plants in all sorts of containers, baked goods and just about anything else you can imagine one of the mothers might have made, but I always headed to the kids’ table. It was filled with gifts to buy for the family and most were only a dime or a quarter. I’d walk up and down the table looking for the perfect gifts for my parents and for my sisters and brother. My mother often got a plant, my father a hankerchief. Once I bought army men for my brother. I don’t remember what I bought for my sisters, but I figure it could have been baby bottles for their dolls, the sort where the milk seemed to disappear.

Those gifts weren’t ever much, but I always felt proud that I could buy them and have something to give at Christmas. When I’d get home from the fair, I’d hide my packages until I could wrap them. The most excitment came when I’d put them under the tree and then tease my sisters about what I had bought them. That was always fun.

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