Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Holiday Tradition

One of our holiday traditions is that the boys and I go down to visit Grandpa, and then we all go to Echter's, a huge and wonderful nursery and garden store on Garrison Street in Arvada. Whatever the season of the year, it's MORE that season at Echter's - bursting with daffodils and tulips in the spring, stuffed full of every kind of flower and vegetable imaginable in the summer, a sea of chrysanthymums in the fall, and a magical realm of lighted Christmas trees and glowing pointsettias at Christmastime. I always let each boy pick out one ornament to buy to put on our tree.

Traditions evolve as kids grow up and grownups age. Yesterday, Gregory didn't come with us because he was at a party with Sierra, but Christopher brought Samantha to share Echter's with us for the first time. Grandpa, who turns 99 in another ten days, chose to stay at home, which worked out well, as what he wanted for Christmas was some African violets, which I was able to buy without him there. But we still got ornaments: a matched pair of Raggedy Ann for Samantha and Raggedy Andy for Christopher.

I was reminded of the Christmas shopping chapter in my favorite book in the whole world, the book I consider to be the finest novel in the English language, Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace. Each year Betsy, Tacy, and Tib have their own tradition of holiday shopping; this year for the first time they expand it to take Winona with them. But the shopping itself proceeds as it always has. The girls visit every single shop downtown, making imaginary purchases at each one: books, dolls, perfume, even a horseless carriage at the hardware store. But then it comes time for them to make one real purchase, with their dimes:

"'Nothing,'" Tacy tried to explain, 'is so much like Christmas as a Christmas tree ornament.' . . . Betsy at last chose a large red ball. Tacy chose an angel. Tib chose a rosy Santa Claus. Winona chose a silver trumpet."

And then they leave to call on Betsy's father, who owns Ray's Shoe Store, so that he can take them to Heinz's Restaurant for ice cream, "smiling, holding Christmas in their hands."

1 comment:

  1. I would have chosen a silver trumpet too! Amanda