TRAVEL THERE: CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS FROM COLORADO
Snow is an integral part of Christmas, but when you live in my part of Texas, you rarely have White Christmases. For snow, many Texans visit Colorado. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who lives there. Coloradans complain about us all the time, even though they do like the income our visits provide.
Skiing and Shopping
When I met my husband, he was a loyal member of the Lone Star Skiers. I, on the other hand, equated skiing with everything cold, wet and miserable. However, I knew there was something in Colorado besides ski slopes, so I didn’t discourage Bill when he started planning ski trips for us – but I did tell him to save himself the price of lift tickets for me, because I’d be drinking hot chocolate by the fire.
Our first ski trip together was over a long weekend at Thanksgiving. My family was traumatized by the fact that I would not be eating turkey with them, but I was pretty excited myself. Breckenridge was our destination. I didn’t know much about Breckenridge, but I was ready to dive into the experience. Bill and I developed a ski-day schedule that has served us well for many years. I get up and have breakfast with him. Then I walk him to the ski-lift. We meet up again for lunch and at the end of his day on the slopes. The rest of the day is mine.
I usually get a lot of reading done on vacation, but I had jokingly told our fellow Lone Star Skiers that my responsibility in Breckenridge was to scout out the shopping. They let me know they were looking forward to my shopping report. So after I deposited Bill on the slope the first morning of our trip, I made my way to Breckenridge’s main drag and visited their many boutiques – just in case anyone was seriously expecting a shopping report.
You can buy a lot of stuff in Breckenridge, but the Christmas stores grabbed my attention. There were lots of ski shops, but since I didn’t ski, they didn’t interest me. Clothing and accessories filled other boutiques, but the mark up glued my eyebrows to my hairline. The first day of shopping I made it back to the hotel room with little more than some snacks for my skier.
Success as a Shopping Scout
Later, at dinner, I was bombarded with questions about the shopping and many of the women skiers were ready to abandon the slopes for the shops. I made several shopping dates for the coming days and felt less like the fifth non-skiing wheel I’d been up to that point. However, not buying anything seemed more difficult with each shopping excursion. I mean, who could resist those darling crossed skis and they didn’t cost much. And what about that striped stocking? It has “Breckenridge” painted on the side like someone stitched for Santa to read.
The real lure however, was the little personalized red bags. One store devoted wholly to Christmas featured an entire aisle of these little temptations. Each small bag contained miniature replicas of items grouped together to represent a variety of people, sports, hobbies, professions and obsessions. Bags of miniature skier paraphernalia were obvious offerings in this ski town. The bags for gardeners, cat lovers and golfers were more creative.
As I took group after group around to the stores, I realized that almost without exception, everyone was taking a little red bag to someone. Why the store would even paint the name of the recipient on the bag for you and hold your purchase for you while you visited other stores. Soon, my shopping dates met me saying, “Show me where they have the little red bags.” How could I have resisted not getting little red bags for my people.
When I got home I gifted the little red bags to their intended giftees, but I eventually got them all back. We were only dating when Bill took us to Breckenridge, so the skier and cat lover bags came to my tree when Bill and I married. I retrieved Mom’s gardener bag and Dad’s golfer bag several years ago when Mom decided it was too much trouble to put up a tree anymore. So now, the bags which were such a hit on the Breckenridge trip and once served as special gifts for special people, not only remind me of a very special ski trip, but act as tokens of my very special people.