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“Betsy” decorating the Hart family Christmas tree.

At the toy shop it was difficult to choose. In blissful indecision they circled the table of dolls.

…When they were through with the dolls they began on the other toys. Trains of cars, jumping jacks, woolly animals on wheels.

…Betsy turned and led the way to the far end of the store. There on a long table Christmas tree ornaments were set out for sale. There were boxes and boxes full of them, their colors mingling in bewildering iridescence. There were large fragile balls of vivid hues, there were gold and silver balls; there were tinsel angels, shining harps and trumpets, gleaming stars.

“Here,” said Betsy, “here we buy.”

“Nothing,” Tacy tried to explain, “is so much like Christmas as a Christmas-tree ornament.”

“You get a lot for ten cents,” said Tib.

They gave themselves then with abandon to the sweet delight of choosing. It was almost pain to choose. Each fragile bauble was gayer, more enchanting than the last. And now they were not just choosing, they were buying. What each one chose she would take home; she would see it on the Christmas tree; she would see it year after year; if she were lucky and it did not break.

They walked around and around the table, touching softly with mittened hands. Betsy at last chose a large red ball. Tacy chose an angel. Tib chose a rosy Santa Claus. Winona chose a silver trumpet.

They yielded their dimes and the lady with the eye glasses wrapped up four packages. Betsy, Tacy, Tib, and Winona went out into the street. The afternoon was drawing to a pallid close. Soon the street lamps would be lighted.

…They walked to Ray’s Shoe Store, smiling, holding Christmas in their hands.

(Excerpts from Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace)

You too can hold Christmas in your hands. Attend the Victorian Christmas at the Betsy and Tacy houses on December 7th and 14th for an old-fashioned Christmas. Children can purchase a Christmas ornament for 10 cents, just as Betsy, Tacy, Tib and Winona did. The gift shop at Tacy’s house has unique gifts and books, candy and treats. I’ll be there signing books on December 7th. Enjoy the music of the season from the Minnesota Valley Chorale. At Betsy’s house, costumed historical interpreters portray Betsy and her family as they get ready to celebrate Christmas. For more information, visit http://www.betsy-tacysociety.org.

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