One of my favorite (newer) family traditions is where we all meet in old St. Charles, which is dressed up like the 1800's (you almost feel like your in a Dickens tale). We each get $5 to spend on a treasure of some kind that we find in one of the many stores. Mostly the stores have old antique-style crafts and items, but you can find the occasional homage to the St. Louis Cardinals.
It's a lot of fun meeting up at the end and showing off what you bought, displaying your pride at having found such a wonderful treasure for such a great price. This year, Dad changed the rules somewhat, so that you can use your $5 towards something instead of the traditional rule of "it can only be up to $5, not counting sales tax."
So, pictured above, are my Christmas treasures from the last two years, which I love and have already decided will be Lambson family treasures/heirlooms. First, I bought two metal old-style candle holders. Only one counted as my "St. Charles Find," since they were $4-5 each, but I bought a pair of them. I love the old style, it always makes me think of "Scrooge," my all-time favorite Christmas movie.
Second, in the middle, is this year's find. My wife and I agreed I could have one Christmas decoration that I could choose, (almost) no questions asked. I decided I wanted a nutcracker. I've always liked nutcrackers, like the ones Mom and Dad had when we were growing up. So that's what I wanted. Over the last couple of months, every time we were in a store, we'd wander over to the Christmas decorations area, and I would gander at the nutcrackers, trying to find one I liked. But most were lame/cheesy/cheap, so I waited.
Then we found a trio of nutcrackers in one of the St. Charles stores. Two in particular, stood out- one decorated like a Beefeater, the guys who guard the Tower of London, which we both really liked. The other one is the guy pictured above, which I really liked. We waited to see what else we could find before coming back, but when we got back to the store at the end of the evening, the Beefeater one was gone!
We asked a clerk if there were any more. She said there weren't, and to boot, the lady who bought the Beefeater nutcracker had purchased it mere minutes before. The clerk was very nice and even went to ask the lady, who was still browsing for her shopping spree, if she might trade. The lady declined, so we were left with the other two.
After considering it, I chose the one above for several reasons (and they may sound weird): his hat is fairly unique (not a style you see on many nutcrackers), his moustache and eyebrows weren't painted on like the other one, and I just liked him better.
So I bought him, at a great price, and now he and the candleholders have become Lambson family Christmas treasures.
UPDATE: Tamara's treasures, a set of little silver bowls and a really cute garland of red-painted metal jingle bells, will also be included among the Lambson Family heirlooms, and I will post a picture of them before the New Year. That's a promise.