Tuesday, December 17, 2013


                                                                 from the Internet
Today was a busy one on the road, with many shoppers out looking for gifts and bargains the week before Christmas.

I myself rarely shop, not because I am cheap (which I am), but because I am pathetic when it comes to choosing the right gift. That includes knowing anyone's size (including my own), the right color, the right style, what's in style, an appropriate price (no price is too low for me), and so forth. That is why I have always given over this delightful (heh heh) duty  to my lovely wife, Susanne.

Today, however, after attending a meeting of the officers of the Historical Society of Dauphin County, of which yours truly is privileged to be the president, I ventured forth into the retail world to choose fabulous gifts for Susanne. I managed to find a few things that I think she will like and can use. Let's hope for no repeat of the year we exchanged gifts and then promptly returned them all.

My last stop today was at Stauffer's of Kissel Hill, a Lancaster, Pa.-based garden center that sells lots of Christmas greenery and home decorations. It's located just west of Linglestown on Pa. Route 39.

The first thing that caught my eye was a fantastic fake candle, battery-powered and incredibly realistic. First we had those battery-powered candles with a static "flame," then a flame that seemed to flicker, and now this, which is so impressive that I had to practically touch the flame to be sure it was not real. The $30 pricetag was impressive, too.

Elsewhere in the store, there were gorgeous flowers (especially poinsettias, of course) and small trees, along with ornaments, and my favorite -- miniature houses! Let's take a look:

 I like these 8- or 10-inch trees for a table or desk.

 Have you seen purple poinsettias before?
Nothing says "Christmas" like purple!

 Little white snowdrops and red poinsettias go together well.

 The red amaryllis is always the star of the show.
It's a native of South Africa.

Pink poinsettias were in  full bloom.
Poinsettias are indigenous to Mexico
and derives their common English name
from Joel Roberts Poinsett,
the first United States Minister to Mexico,
who introduced the plant into the United States in 1825.

This old door was adorned with a snowy wreath,
accompanied by lighted branches.

Pink flamingos, anyone, or three little pigs?

If my sister Rachel didn't already have
2.1  million Santas,
I might have bought her one of these.

Ah, here they are, little houses! The one in the front
is made of painted metal, and the one in the right rear
is made of clay. The clay one reminds me of the clay villages
you see in the French Christmas villages with the little
painted clay santons. More on that subject later.