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Hill Country Living

Mutual Destruction Coming With Last Minute Shopping Trip To Wally World

Christmas is in three days but I think by the time this week’s paper is published Christmas will have already happened. I hope that the Me of Three Days Into Christmas Future has pulled it together in time as The Me of Christmas Present has yet to get a single gift for anyone, including my children. Very fortunately, my parents and brothers don’t exchange gifts and haven’t since my brothers and I became adults, so I only really have to worry about my kids. 

So I don’t have a long list like lots of others. My list just says “kids.” But still, I’m gonna hit Walmart today like a wrecking ball. Or, Walmart will hit me like a wrecking ball. It will be a mutual destruction. Wish me luck.

Here’s a Wagner letter showing that holiday gift giving is always a struggle. Apparently, even 130 years ago people were giving cheap gifts. I’m really curious to know what she gave him as it was “remarkably cheap,” but with a $30 value. 

As an aside, I looked up “Jon Wanamaker Reading Room” as it is the stationary heading for this letter. There is a picture of the room and it was quite beautiful and fairly small. You can see the few desks she would have been sitting at when writing this letter. 

Reading Room

John Wanamaker



Dec 20, 1888

My dear Cousin —

No doubt in this you have received a present for “sweetheart.” I expressed it this morning. I was very undecided what to get. There are a hundred and one pretty things to buy but whether all Ladies taste are alike, it is difficult to choose from. As you mentioned Receptions, dancing parties and etc I thought I could no more than select something that she could honor my dear cousin with, than carrying it on such occasions. Perhaps you will not be as much pleased with it as I am myself, ( or which I have no doubt but what the young generous gift) I sincerely hope it will meet with your approval. It is remarkably cheap and has the appearance of a far more expensive article. I have a friend who has one that cost $30.00 (I was informed.) Although his is between her’s and yours.

John, the fan cost $7.25. Ribbon 75 cents and 4 lenses 30 cents which cost for whole $8.25 which leaves your surplus of $3.75. When shall I send it to you or do you wish something else?

My dearest John, I wish you the happiest and Merriest Xmas and “New Years.” 

Pardon haste and write to me very soon. I am anxious to know how you liked the fan — ( as well as the Lady.)

This miserable written letter is unpardonable but attribute it to haste.

Love in abundance,

Yours lovingly


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