Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thrifty Acres: Christmas Books

Hello! When I'm at the thrift stores, looking for vintage Christmas decorations, I also check out the Christmas-themed books. Have picked up three recently - at 50c or less, they were hard to resist. 

All Through The House, 1993, published by Heritage House. This book is loaded with holiday recipes and crafts. Now, I need another book of this sort like I need another hole in my head, but see the paper sticking out at the top? That's a list I made of recipes and crafts that looked worth trying, so this was a good purchase. 

Better Homes and Gardens Christmas From The Heart, Volume 9, 2000. I think this series is typically sold through mail order. I know this because I've gotten offers from BH & G in the past, always promising that the latest volume in the series will make it My Best Christmas Ever. But I know that these books always seem to show up at garage sales and thrift stores, so I wait until then to pick them up.

Judging from the yellow sticker on the cover, someone named Deb tried to sell this book for 75c at a garage sale, but no one nibbled. Instead, I paid less than half that price yesterday, and now more recipes, crafts and decorating ideas await. 

The Guideposts Christmas Treasury, 1972. Yes, the book is older, and what's more, some of the articles date back to the 1940's. Yet other than what now seem like ridiculously low prices mentioned for gifts, most of the works have a timelessness about them that transcends the years.

I admit, I'm a sucker for the feel-good stories of selflessness, faith, and love, although one entire section (the treasury is divided by themed sections) deals with people suffering through losses like a devastating tornado and the death of a preemie. Christmas can be especially hard to manage while facing such challenges, but in this book, at least, the Christmas spirit prevails. 

I was fascinated by the story entitled "The Runaway Boy" by Chase Walker. It's a variation on the "tie a yellow ribbon 'round the ole oak tree", only in this story, it's a teen who'd run away from home and now hoping he'd be welcomed home by his father. If the father wanted his son back, he was to tie a red cloth to the elm tree on their property. The boy would see the tree as the train went past their house, and would get his answer on whether he was welcomed back or not. 

Well, you guessed it - when the boy saw the tree, it was covered with dozens of red cloths tied to its branches. 

From doing some Internet research, I learned that there's conflicting information on the "tie a yellow ribbon" story, with some suggesting that the practice of welcoming back a prisoner or other long-absent person in this way dates back to the Civil War. Others date the practice to a 1971 story that became widely circulated (I recall reading it in an old Reader's Digest). And of course, there's that Tony Orlando and Dawn hit (1973) which likely cemented this welcome-home custom forevermore. 

But nowhere did I see red cloths being used as the welcome-home symbol - except for in my Guideposts book. 


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