Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The After-Christmas Shopping Miracle @Target

My house has one of those grand, two-story entries. Much maligned by anyone that enjoys heating and cooling efficiency, it really seems sort of pointless. Until Christmas. At Christmas, it's the best place for a really stunning, really huge tree.

Trees like that are expensive. And I am thrifty. Some might even say cheap.

Years passed with a very small tree in the soaring, empty space. I stalked Target in late December and January, year after year, hoping to score a deeply discounted evergreen.

My daughter and I popped into our local store to pick something up one such January afternoon. We didn't even get a cart because the item we were after was so small. We took a quick buzz through the dwindling holiday aisles, not expecting to find anything.

Looking up from underneath the Christmas tree. Sadly, not the amazing angle I thought it
would be.
The aisles were crowded with shoppers. Everything was marked 90% off and the shelves were being attacked like Pa's wheat crop in a Laura Ingalls Wilder story. We rounded a bend and there on a low shelf was a nine foot, pre-lit tree. 90% off of its original $299.99 price tag.

This was my tree! I had no cart!

I looked at Julia, she was something less than 10-years-old, and quickly realized that the cost-effective tree wasn't worth a disappeared daughter. We'd have to hightail it back to the cart corral and hope for the best. I explained the dire situation to her and the two of us speed-walked toward the front of the store.

"We should always just get a cart," I muttered as we huffed and puffed back to the holiday section.

An older woman greeted us upon our return.

"I hope you don't mind, I overheard you talking to your daughter," she said. "Someone else was going to take your tree. I told her I was just waiting for my niece to come back with a cart. I waited here for you to come back."

The tree in all its foyer glory. Truly the only reason for this two-story entry is to house a
ginormous tree.
Julia and I thanked the woman profusely, surprised by her unexpected kindness. The tree rang up $29.99. At home, we slid the boxed tree under the container for our living room Christmas tree, an after-Christmas Target find from years before. We waited over ten months to see the new tree for the first time. On it's first Christmas and each one after, I've thought of that lady, my adopted aunt. How nice she was to save my tree for me! And now, I always get a cart when I shop at Target. No matter what.