About a week before Thanksgiving my 9-year-old began asking me, well, really begging me, “When are we going to put up the Christmas tree?” Repeatedly, I looked into those big brown eyes and, like any good mother, I used her question as a teachable moment to tell her why we wait until after Thanksgiving to put up the tree. You see, I have a deep conviction about Thanksgiving. I don’t want to skip over the opportunity to focus on thankfulness. I don’t want to gloss over all that Jesus Christ has blessed us with before we enter a season that seems, all too often, to be consumed by dialogue about what we are going to “get” rather than “give.”
But it wasn’t only my Thanksgiving convictions that were deep. It was the pile of garage sale items that stood between the bottom of the basement stairwell and the corner where our pre-lit Christmas tree stood, awaiting yet another year of being strung with hand-made school decorations, one-legged ice skaters (which used to have two) and circular, faded kindergarten pictures of each of the kids, glued to their cut-out handprints that served as angel’s wings.
In order to reach that Christmas tree and make the spirit of Christmas come alive in our home, my farmer was going to have to scale those garage-sale gems that I had been stock-piling for a year, and like some of our cotton that didn’t weather the cool, cloudy weeks of August and September very well, that might result in a low mic in our marriage.
So I did the only thing I could do —I threw an impromptu-garage sale the next morning, carefully displaying unopened packages of taupe-colored knee highs that had been passed down by a thoughtful relative, a new, “in-the-box” 2005 version of Excel, and a pair of jeans I had purchased for my farmer that had 2 percent spandex in them, which, apparently made them unthinkable —somewhat understandable for a cotton farmer, I guess.
Impromptu garage sales cause you to be creative. For example, I made a clothes rack using a broom suspended between two ladders, on which to hang my out-of-date clothes. My first Facebook post stated that because my garage sale was last minute, I had no cash, and therefore, “please come prepared.” And to make their shopping experience more enjoyable, I assured my audience on Facebook-live that I would have Christmas music playing while they shopped.
Overall, I would have to say, my garage sale was a success. The floor of the basement was cleared of my priceless and somewhat dated possessions. The Christmas tree was easily retrieved, resulting in joy to world with a silent night.
To top off the tree, so to speak, I made some “extra” cash, to which my farmer profoundly observed: “You know, farming is a lot like garage sales. You pay retail but sell for wholesale.” Well, when you put it that way… By the way, if you’re in the market for that 2005 version of Excel, it’s still available!