Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Gift of Simple

Not too long about, I had written a blog post about Fall leaves. Several years ago, there was an elderly woman that lived in my neighborhood. Her care giver would take her on walks each and every day. I especially remember her during the Fall because her care giver would carry a little bag for her. This woman would stop at different points during her walks and carefully bend over a pick up a leaf. She would look at it closely, examining it and I’m guessing the ones that appealed to her most were the ones that she found to be unusual. Those were the special leaf’s that she would give her caretaker to put in her little bag. I haven’t seen this woman in several years, and I’m guessing she has sadly passed away. What this woman will never know is that she gave me, “the gift of simple”! Each morning in the Fall and Winter when I go outside to get my newspaper, I notice all the leaves. Some are of brilliant color, others may be shaped oddly, and I love when it rains and the leaf is gone, but the pattern of it is on the wet cement. I always hope that this very special woman, somehow knows that she graciously gave me the “gift of simple”!

Why do I bring this up now? It’s holiday season, and our economy is in such dandy shape, I know that it causes so many of us to freak out, wonder how we are going to afford all the gifts that are hearts want to give, but our wallets may be telling us a different story. I watch my four year old granddaughter, Riley; scrutinize the toy catalogs that come in the mail choosing what she wants for Christmas. My business is retail, so you have to know I understand why these catalogs are sent, why the commercials air daily and all that goes with this time of year. It puts a great deal of pressure on many to find the perfect gifts for those we love. As you probably know, I love antiques and vintage stuff. I have an old stepback cupboard that is filled with children’s antiques. Kind of funny how much life as changed for kids now with technology. But what draws me to these vintage toys is that they are “simple”, many handmade. I too will purchase a few toys for my little ones that I know they just have to have! But I also want to find the three of them vintage gifts that are simple and have meaning. Actually, I recently bought Bodhi’s vintage gift. It is an old, well loved, stuffed little dog, probably from the 1930’s. It’s missing its ribbon around its neck, but that can be replaced along with a heartfelt handwritten note to my grandson on his first Christmas!

I guess I just want to remind us all, that the gift of “simple” doesn’t have to be expensive and can also make a wonderful holiday gift. I remember last year putting together all our family photos from that year, and having them put together in a book. I added little sayings, poems and such. Not too long ago, I had a customer share a wonderful story with me about gift giving. This is the part I love about my job. He was buying an old vintage Stingray bike. Then he began telling me “why” he was buying it. His boss, as a child had a paper route. He saved all his money from delivering newspapers to buy a new Stingray bike. When the time came to buy the bike with the money he had saved, the cost of the bike had gone up in price so he couldn’t afford to get it and he was never able ever to buy the bike. My customer was buying the vintage stingray bike as a gift for his boss. He wanted to him to have the bike he wanted so badly as a child.

This holiday season, I hope you can de-stress yourself a little bit by staying away from the crazy malls. There are so many ways of buying meaningful gifts for those you love. We have so many old books at Country Roads, for example, that may have special meaning to someone you want to shop for. Vintage shopping is not only a unique way to purchase gifts but also a great way to recycle. I hope this holiday season you find peace and remember the importance of things in your life. And hey, there is nothing wrong with the gift of “simple”! Happy Holidays.

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