Christmas Banners and Shopping Local

It's hard not to be a kid at Christmas time.  The sad longing we adults feel as we try unsuccessfully to recapture the magic and naivete and expectation that only the marvelous ability to be duped (and see the world  again in 1950's black and white) can produce. We listen to the music, we smell the smells, we look at the lights, we channel Bing.  Still, we are left unfulfilled, unsated, unable to get "in the Christmas spirit".

But every now and then, usually when we least expect it, something happens to jettison us back (albeit only for a flash) to our childhood.  We smell again the fresh aroma of plastic from our new dollie's head, we experience the rapture of getting a really good gift in our classroom gift exchange, and we savor the memory of a time when we, indeed, really enjoyed eating a candy cane.

And believe it or not (if you still have the capacity to believe in Christmas magic), I had such a moment on Tuesday, December 6, 2011, St. Nicklaus' Day, my birthday.  

After a divine, chatty, almost giddy, lunch with Color Girl, I "did Western".  Those who live in my neck of the woods know exactly what I'm talking about. I visited many of the charming little shops and destinations that line Western Avenue just outside my neighborhood.  You know, those enticing little places you pass every day but seldom have the time to frequent.

I ended up at my favorite florist, A Date with Iris, which ever so happily, lies just up the street from me.

I went in, looked around the wacky, wonderful Suesse-esque world they have created for the holidays, 

and then

there it was

that magical, mystical WHOOSH back into time and Christmas space

hanging from the ceiling, in all of its nostalgic, retro, It's a Wonderful Life  kind of glory.

A MERRY CHRISTMAS banner that put me in a Christmas mood that I have not experienced in quite a while.

I imagined it welcoming my college boys home for the holidays with warmth and cheer and just the right amount of festivity.

For just $20 and after a discussion with the girls over the relative merits of the green vs. red selection, this felt beauty was mine...

and is now festooning my entryway in anticipation of my boys' homecoming.

Magic! And a chorus of Christy Minstrel carols filled the air.

I am now imagining it as a perfect hostess gift, classroom decoration, or care package enclosure for a college kid.  Or maybe, just maybe, a little bit of the past you buy for yourself on your birthday.

(Take my advice, shop local, support your neighborhood businesses and treat yourself to one of these banners. I think they have a few left :)!

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