TRAVEL THERE: SOUVENIRS OF CHRISTMAS FROM AROUND TEXAS
Christmas is my favorite holiday. Texas is my favorite state. Put it all together and that spells…well, I don’t know what it spells, but I have a lot of Christmas ornaments I bought while visiting parts of Texas.
See that bright red boot with the green and white trim right in the middle, that’s from San Antonio‘s Market Square. I’ve been visiting Market Square since 1966 and the area has gone through both good times and bad. I believe the early eighties were by far the best years. There were upscale clothing stores, gorgeous art galleries and other top notch establishments clustered behind Mi Tierra, holding me hostage for hours on end. Since those days other developments, like Rivercenter in its heyday and now the exciting new Pearl, have overshadowed the Old Mercado. Regardless of the latest fad, Market Square stays on my must-see list.
I vividly remember being on my way out of the Mercado one sweltering summer day. Both of my arms were loaded down with shopping bags when I sighted the boot. I stopped in my tracks and a fellow shopper bumped into me. The ornament hung in one of those kiosks which clutter all our malls nowadays, but they were a little more of a novelty then. My shopping companion followed my sight line and began to laugh. “You might as well buy it, so we can get out of the heat. If you don’t I’ll have to hear about it for weeks.” That’s all the encouragement I needed.
Galveston is also a perennial favorite with me. I could go one week and be thrilled to return the following weekend. I’ve never made it for their Dickens on the Strand or Mardi Gras celebrations, but both are on my wish list. I’ve viewed the city’s famous historic homes many times, but I love visiting with someone who’s never been, so I can justify another peek at their glory.
One year I took my parents on a little road trip. In the beautiful Moody Mansion I found the blue and white ornament in the top left corner of the picture. The photo does not do it justice. It’s a pine cone made out of a material printed with bluebonnets. Later in the day, as we browsed along The Strand I wandered into a particularly wonderful shop offering items made by local artisans, rather than the usual “Made in China” junk dominating the tourist attraction. The proprietor and I chatted about the days when Galveston was called the Second Apple and Cotton was King. My eye landed on the cotton ball angel just about then and, of course, I had to have her. She’s right there, second from the right in the photo.
The rest of the treasures in this photo came from Salado. The sleepy little backwater is just down the road from Temple where my favorite aunt lived most of her life. Nowadays, it’s not quite as sleepy as it used to be. There was a time when about all there was to do in Salado was visit the Salado Gallery and eat lunch at The Stagecoach Inn. Now there are lots of galleries in Salado, but the Salado Gallery is gone. None of the new shops match up to my memories of THE Salado Gallery.
For years, my mom and my aunt would trade off having the Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts, but whether we were in Dallas or Temple, we’d hit the After Christmas Sales. If we were in Temple, the Salado Gallery was at the top of our list. The treasures in the picture above are just a small sampling of the Salado Gallery gems adorning my tree every year.
Keep dropping by through out the month for more Christmas memories and don’t hesitate to share your own favorite holiday tales.