I don’t know about where you live, but around here holiday bazaar season starts earlier each year. Forgive me, but I am just not ready to think about buying Christmas cookies and tree ornaments already in early November! No, instead I prefer to wait until the first Saturday of December, when one of the local churches holds their annual event.
As I wrote last year, my mother and grandmother always attended the same bazaar when I was a young girl many, many moons ago, and I love that so little about it has changed over the years — the tables of ornaments, used books and board games, and bric-a-brac; tubs full of assorted Christmas cookies; the kitchen helpers busy selling sandwiches and homemade soup.
But of course the star attraction remains the hand-sewn mice ornaments crafted by a small group of church members. The diehard folks, myself included, start filling the church vestibule well in advance of the 9:00 opening time, to ensure a decent chance of procuring one of the year’s new designs.
This year, however, my early morning turned hectic. I first needed to drop off James for work at the ski resort and then run back home to feed the dogs and next make a quick stop at the ATM — my best friend AmEx would not work at St. Paul’s. I pulled into the parking lot at 9:01, anxious that I would be too late — seriously this is how crazy the rush for the mice is!
And alas, once inside I found the trees almost stripped bare from the frenzy. My heart sank. I looked around and saw people clutching bunches of Christmas mice in both hands. The mother-daughter pair who have made sure they are first in line every year for at least the past 35 years, were huddled in one corner looking over the dozens they had pulled from the trees. One man, who arrived just after me, said what so many of us have thought in the past, “This just isn’t fair.” And so not in the spirit of the holidays either.
Fortunately for us latecomers, the churchwomen who manage the room had our backs. They had purposely not hung all the mice! More boxes that they had carefully kept hidden away were brought out and new mice hung. In the end, I decided on two to add to our own collection, including the cute guy above.
On my drive home, I gave thanks that my dip into the Christmas shopping mania was brief and behind me for another year. For the past several holidays, we have simplified and scaled back our purchases of store-bought gifts in favor of our own creations, and I am so glad we did. Because the way I see it, these special December days have never been about how many presents or how much you spend or how full your tree is with mice ornaments — it’s about how you feel in your heart. And today my heart is feeling pretty good. 🙂