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Remember Christmases when small gifts were big?
December 30, 2012 - Anita Hanaburgh
Oh, busboy, Christmas is here. I’m in Walmart, but I can’t remember the urgent purchase that drove me to this Christmas den of doings. I look around. Everyone seems to have a plan. Perhaps if I start walking, I will remember. Oh, look at this, spinning toothbrushes that light up! Wow, they are only $5. I think they would be great, fun gifts for my brother-in-laws, or maybe I’ll get them for the kids’ stockings, maybe for the grandkids. I think my nieces would just love them. I pile nine in the cart. Anita, what are you doing! Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you have to buy it! Focus. That is not what I came for. I remember always getting a brand new toothbrush in my Christmas stocking. I looked forward to it. Remember those Christmases when a small simple gift meant a lot?
I push the cart and I past many want-to-be gifts crammed at the end of each aisle. Why am I here? OK, toothbrushes, stockings. I remember now. I am here to get candy for Christmas stockings. My mom was practical: Candy and a toothbrush.
I usually fill 12 stockings: Four children, seven grandchildren and Santa himself.
I am seeking candy canes. My mom bought a pack of six: one cane for each daughter and two put away for mom and dad’s treat. We never had hard candy at home, but at Christmas we got a candy cane. I remember rolling back the cellophane and sucking on the end until it was a point. I would wrap it back up, put it back in the stocking to have a taste later on.
Mmmm, candy canes. Let’s see, here are Candy Cane Kisses, a Jolly Rancher filled Candy Cane, Reese’s Peanut butter Candy cane, Hershey’s Candy Cane Mint candies, green stripped candy cane, a bag of 48 mini candy canes, candy cane lollipops, candy cane Oreos, green on red stripped candy cane, red on green stripped candy canes, foot-long candy canes. I just want a box of 12 red and white normal (relative I know) sized candy canes.
“Hello,” I say as I spot an associate. “I am looking for regular candy canes. Just red and white. Nothing fancy.” He looks at me and says “I’ll have to see if we carry them.”
Who buys all this other stuff? We do. Too many choices. We don’t need it, but we see it and then we want it. I want to try mint chocolate candy canes. I consider changing tradition. Magic merchandising. How is anything special? How does one remember that special treat from the year before? Oh, busboy. Remember those Christmases when a small simple gift meant a lot?
I am also looking for normal size (again relative) chocolate candy bars of a brand I recognize. Along with the cane, at Christmas we got a candy bar: A simple chocolate candy bar. Cherished and nibbled the whole day. Sometimes, Santa left an Almond Joy (my Mom’s favorite) or a Baby Ruth (my Dad’s favorite) but usually it was a flat milk chocolate Hershey Bar. It had 12 little rectangular pieces we broke off one at a time, sometimes letting it last for days.
I am seeking two six-packs of Hershey milk chocolate bars. I ask my associate where the chocolate candy bars are. He looks at me. I know I am standing in the chocolate candy aisle. I begin to doubt my sanity.
“I can’t find them,” I whine. He smiles patiently and points. Like Scrooge looking at Marley in the door knob, I peek at the shelves: 100 Grand, boom Choco boom, Bounty, Zero Bars, Green and Black Organic. Then I sort of recognize some: Pay Day, Lindt Classic, white chocolate cookies and creme. There is Musketeer Mint, Symphony, Rolo, Kit Kat variety pack, Dove Promises, Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters, Ferrero Rocher Hazelnut, Ghirardelli and Russell Stover.
I then spot names I really know: Mr. Goodbar, 3 Musketeers, Butterfingers, Almond Joy and Mounds. Let’s see, there is snack size with 12 counts, snack size with 24 counts and a snack size with 48 count. There are fun size 50 packs, minis, mini mix and variety 17 count, to name a few.
“The flat, larger Hershey Bar,” I plead.
He looks at me and says, “I think they are online.”
Remember those Christmases when a small, simple gift meant a lot?
Being fair to Walmart I did find the items I sought, merchandised in the main aisle. I also picked up some M&M’s for the candy dish. Did you know that walmart.com has 67 different kinds of M&M’s? But I only bought the M&M Holiday Mint, the M&M Cherry Cordial, the M&M Almond, the M&M Pretzel, the M&M ………
Have a great holiday!
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