It’s that time of year.
Listening to the radio, watching television, shopping in stores, it’s evident a holiday is approaching.
So Tuesday night, while waiting for election results both on the computer and on television, I went to the storeroom and chopped down the Christmas tree.
You may ask, why before Thanksgiving did you start putting up Christmas decorations?
You didn’t know the Christmas shopping season started last Friday?
For my household, starting the decoration process begins early mainly because of the busy schedule throughout November and December.
There are so many things going on later next month. Tuesday provided a free moment. My weekend is going to be spent with my 12-year-old grandson and we may even travel to Columbia, Missouri to see the Tigers play Vanderbilt.
Putting up a 10-foot Christmas tree (well it seems like 10 and must be at least 8 feet as I need a ladder to put Santa Lucia on the top) can be entertaining. There’s always a few decorations that didn’t make it off the tree from the year before.
One year there was a present left tucked behind a fake branch. Who knew summer sausage had an expiration date?
We also have a full-size Wizard of Oz decorated tree downstairs yet to be chopped down. Well, unpackaged may be a better word.
There was a time we had real trees.
We bought them at ALCO. Or sometimes, Dad would just go out into the pasture and chop down a wild cedar. If you put on enough lights, popcorn strings and tinsel, a stick can resemble a Christmas tree.
As a newly married couple we always had real tree.
Even though we cut off the end and kept it well watered, tricks to keeping it from drying out, when we finally carried it out of the house the carpet looked like the pine-needle rough at Augusta National.
Finally, we got smart and bought a fake fir at Sears.
That tree paid for itself many times over and actually outlasted the Sears store in Abilene.
Sears was located on Buckeye Avenue just north of R.H.V., one of the few remaining retail businesses of that time. Rittel’s Western Wear might be the only other.
ALCO Discount Store is closed. Gambles is no longer. Pinkham’s is history as is Montgomery Ward on Cedar Street.
That year Abilene had the Tree House for Kids on Third Street.
Clothing stores included Asling’s Clothing, The Fashionmaker, Mode O-Day and Royer’s Ladies & Menswear.
There was even a shoe store called The Shoe Box plus two shoe repair stores in Burns Shoe Repair and Vern’s Shoe Repair, located roughly where Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., is located now.
And who can forget Vonda Craig’s Ben Franklin’s store?
That is where I bought my first 45 record, “Tear Drop City” by the Monkees.
This year’s Christmas shopping economic forecast projects that total retail sales will increase 5 to 5.6 percent while online sales are likely to rise 17 to 22 percent.
Overall, consumers indicate their average holiday spending will increase from $1,226 to $1,536 per customer.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if some of that could be spent locally? Our Christmas trees are ready to put gifts under them. I hope you enjoy the shopping and holiday season just ahead.