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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Present Miracles, Old and New

Every once in awhile, all the ducks line up in a neat little row,
and everything falls into place, and your Christmas gifts are perfect, just perfect.

I am talking about the gifts you give.
Gifts you receive are always perfect, because they are gifts.


I've had three minor Christmas gifting miracles, two of them this year.
The first involved these:

Yup, flatware. Vintage silverplate. But, not mine, at least not anymore.

There is a lot of it, and it now belongs to my sister Peggy. To make a long story short (yes, first time in my life I ever did that!), I'll just say that for personal reasons I wanted to give Peg some ornate flatware, something really special.

I haunted Ebay, and fell in love with a Reed & Barton pattern, patented in 1901, called Tiger Lily. It has a sterling silver twin, Amaryllis, but that's very rare and also out of my price range for gifts!

Ebay had some sets of Tiger Lily, or its 1950s incarnation, Festivity,
but this is a popular old pattern; full sets were pricey.

Craigslist to the rescue with my miracle.

On a fluke search, I discovered someone only 30 minutes from me, selling an estate set of silverplate flatware: Reed & Barton's Festivity from the early 1950s, with a few of the older pieces too. Full dinner service for 9, plus extras. And at a price a third of anything on Ebay.

I cleaned up an old silver chest, and tucked all 65 pieces happily into their rightful places,
and gave it all to Peggy on Christmas Day.

I was kind of hoping she wouldn't like the set;
I'd have happily kept it all for myself!

My other Christmas miracle this year was a gift for daughter Anne. She vacillated between wanting a wide-bed scanner or a professional dress form. This will make sense if you know that she is a graduate design student -- theatrical costumes.

The Christmas deadline approacheth-ed. Finally, on December 23rd, I went ahead and ordered the big scanner from Amazon, with free shipping. I considered shelling out $58 for next day delivery, but figured, "Anne's 22; she can understand a delay!"

But . . . a delivery man tromped up our porch steps on Christmas Eve, the very next day, and dropped off the scanner. I was flabbergasted. And grateful. And stunned. The next day!

But neither of these minor miracles compares to one from nearly 20 years ago.
Daughter Alida, then a pre-schooler, wanted a Care Bear for Christmas -- Cheer Bear.
Remember them?

The problem was . . . Care Bears had been discontinued several years before, and no store carried them. No store. I went everywhere, and even called the manufacturer. No luck.

Then just days before Christmas, Howard and I were pushing the girls in their double stroller through a local mall, and I noticed a tiny toy store across from the food court. I'd never noticed that store before, but it was worth a shot.

Leaving Howard with the girls, I dashed in and got hold of the owner. Did he have any Care Bears? I wasn't even asking for Cheer Bear at this point; I'd have taken Crack Bear if that was all I could get.

"Care Bears? They don't make them anymore." I turned to go. . . ."But wait," he said. "I think I have one in the back, old stock. Let me check."

I don't think I breathed while I waited for him to come back. He returned and -- you know how this turns out, don't you? -- in his hands was a brand new Cheer Bear.

I nearly cried, but instead I asked how much, and he said he wasn't sure -- it had been so long since they'd sold one! So he charged me $20, and I double bagged ol' Cheer Bear, and smuggled him home. Happiness all around.

And that toy store I had never noticed before? I never saw it again; it was gone when I went back to the mall after Christmas. A lot of small stores were closing then, around 1990, so I am sure it folded like so many of its size. I'm pretty sure. There can't be any other explanation, can there? Nah.


Thanks to Tam of The Gypsy's Corner for letting me share my 3 minor miracles on her Three Or More Tuesday blog party. Click the highlighted words or icon to go there for more!

And thanks also to The Roomies for Past Due Tuesday, for letting me share my vintage silverplated flatware with you. Again, click on the titles or icon for more, or to join in a lovely new blog party.
Tomorrow, on Wednesday, a tour of all the Christmas trees at That Old House -- and there are a lot of them! Now, go sharpen your pencils; it's nearly Resolution Time! -- Cass


  1. Hi Cass

    So many wonderful things happening for you in a wonderful season!

  2. Cass, The silverware is beautiful! What a special gift! Carebears! That is a good memory!
    Sounds like a great Xmas!

  3. Wow. Can you send some of that good luck to me? You sure are a charmed lady. Rosie

  4. I don't know why, but the story about the Care Bear moved me to tears...especially since the store was gone in a flash. Ah, but I always get melancholy this week of the year, walking around the Christmas tree, touching the ornaments...reliving the years. Your gift for your sister is AMAZING! You are De-Lovely.
    **blows merry kisses still** Deb

  5. You are a special lady to have all that good karma! The silverware is gorgeous, your sister will cherish it.

  6. Miracles DO happen! Especially, to the nicest people! :)

    ♥ ♥ ♥ that silverware!!!!!!!!!! I'm so green with envy, I may have to go to confession!

    ♫ Happy New Year! ♫

    Thanks for sharing your miracles & your lovely home!


  7. Love the flatware! Went thru the carebear stage with one of my children, and how well I remember the year of the cabbage patch stage!
    Thanks for sharing your happy shopping stories.
    Have a great week.

  8. Hi Cass,
    I am so glad you were able to find the flatware, it is beautiful. That's fun that the present showed up right before Christmas. The crack bear had me cracking up. I'm thinking the store is probably like Brigadoon and shows up every hundred years or so, just a theory.

  9. Wonderful story about the Care Bear, sounds like a Christmas Miracle to me.

  10. Wonderful story! Love the silver, very pretty!
    I guess my walking my feet off 9 mo preg in 1972 to find the at home Beer maker pales..:)
    And when we moved 27 yrs later it got tossed never opened..
    and yes, I still bring it up!
    Happy 2010, Cass!

  11. Oh how lucky, on both counts.
    Isn't it great when you get to please someone with a gift.
    Now if only our Craig's List sellers had anything worth buying and at a reasonable price...

  12. A care bear miracle - i love it! alida has a wonderful mommy!

  13. oh, and peggy's silver is beautiful. you are a good sister, too!

  14. It's a;ways nice whenthings work out like you want especially at
    this time of year.
    It's also nice when the peron recieving the gift likes it.

    :) Melinda

  15. Great stories and gorgeous presents Cass!! I have never had fancy silverware but you are inspiring me.................

  16. Wow, what a beautiful flatware pattern! Such a nice gift! I'm glad the scanner came before Christmas... how lucky, or was it luck?

    The Care Bear story reminds me of "Miracle On 34th Street" when the little girl finds the perfect house, then the cane that Santa left. Great stories!


  17. Yes, this is the season for miracles...even shopping miracles. What caring and love went into those charming gifts. That is what the season is about. Lovely.

  18. Great stories. Maybe it was a Christmas miracle. I love that flatware, I think we might have that flatware....

    Do you have big plans for NYE?

  19. Oh, such pretty silverware ... and, so many pieces!

    Happy New Year!

  20. Isn't it nice when it all works! As for the care bear, she must have belonged at your house.

  21. Oh Cass - I loved your Christmas Present Miracles! Such very precious stories and memories to share for years to come. It just reinforces the fact that as long as we BELIEVE Christmas Magic and Miracles will happen.
    I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year.

  22. Wow, would you be MY sister? lol What a beautiful gift to give your sister. And such sweet Christmas stories, too.

    Wishing you a wonderful new year, filled with joy and blessings!

  23. Such lovely sweet generous gifts! Can I be adopted? I love to be in your sister's shoes! My daughter has that Care Bear! Or do I still have it? lol What great surprises you had for the wonderful gifts you have given!


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