Tag Archives: shopping

Collecting Christmas

Years ago, along with the commitment to buying a bit of a bigger tree each year, I also began to collect ornaments from my travels.  It’s a great way to capture the essence of a special place you’ve been, or a special year you’ve had, or even just a keepsake as a treasured memory of home.  Christmas is a holiday you can celebrate all year, by collecting these mementos.

“One Christmas my father kept our tree up till March.  He hated to see it go.  I loved that.”                Mo Rocca

Christmas Ornaments

Creating a Collection of Ornaments

Christmas is so much a celebration of joy.  It brings with it nostalgia, anticipation of wonderful things to come and the warmth that comes with memories of good times with friends and family.  So, the first Christmas that I woke up alone in my little studio apartment in New York was a bit disorienting.  I had never imagined that I would have a Christmas morning alone.  It was both startling, disconcerting and also fun in a very different way.  I felt accomplished, having set up a tree, to ensure my Christmas day would start out festive and joyful.

Nantucket Ornament

Collect your ornaments all year long, including the wonderful places you visit!

I think that’s why having a Christmas tree every year, no matter what, became such an important thing to me.  It’s a wonderful and constant companion to the holiday, no matter if you’re with friends, family or on your own.  You will find yourself with plenty of time and parties to celebrate the holiday with lots of people.

But waking up to a tree dressed in the beautiful reminders of all the great places you’ve been to, or things that you’ve done, people you’ve known…that’s a really special thing that I think everyone should aim for at Christmas.  You get to savor the experience every day that the tree is up, not just on Christmas morning itself.  And it becomes so personal.



I have ornaments from London, Paris, Nantucket, New Mexico, Arizona, Provence, Italy, and more.  I have a small collection of glass bulbs from my mother’s trees.  I have ornaments that friends and colleagues gifted over the years.  I have a small collection of wooden ornaments, shells, a small creche.  I have a beautiful collection of the 12 days of Christmas.  And some that I made as a child in school.  Each one has meaning.

I always try to leave some ornaments out for anyone who comes to my home over the holidays to hang.  It gives me great pleasure to share my tree.  I call it “honoring the tree”.  And each morning leading up to Christmas, I turn on the tree lights, and sip my cup of coffee or tea while looking at it and recalling the meaning behind each treasured decoration.


Buckingham Palace London!

Playing special Christmas music.  Waking up to the refreshing aroma of pine, looking at this beautiful and unique creation.  All of it makes me feel so happy.  It’s a gift you can give yourself, every year, a very important one I think, especially if you’re on your own.

That’s “A Table For One” exquisite celebration!  Merry Christmas to all!

Copyright 2015 Marion M. O’Grady




Strand-ed? Shop!


Books on a Certain Famous Corner in NYC!

Books on a Certain Famous Corner in NYC!

Some of the most fun shops are located on iconic street corners.  Weathering rain, snow and scorching summer sun, these book-boothes of the famous Strand bookstore stand more than time-tested in the heart of NYC.

“Who seeks shall find.”  Sophocles

Although I walk by these stands with some degree of frequency, in a rush usually, I love to carve out time to visit this iconic location for books and novelties that make great and inexpensive gifts.  The thing that’s really fun about shopping here, is that there’s so much going on around and it’s all outdoors.  You can find a selection of art and  “coffee table” books, children’s books, classics.  Although the stands are just a sampling, they’re an excellent representation of Strand’s full offerings at their store.

Linger And Look!

Linger And Look!

These are really simple, rough-hewn stands and tables that always remind me of how much is out there and available when you want to stop your world and go shopping.  Actually, this simple location is an inspiration to me when I travel too.  I look for similar set-ups and have found them…from Paris’ Left Bank all the way to a famous park in San Diego, California, where artists gather in an almost in-promptu array of tents and outdoor displays to sell their works.

Once you’ve located something similar, be sure to seek it out and keep it in mind when and wherever you travel.  At Strand’s street corner location, there are also lots of great souvenirs.

Tables of Great Souvenirs

Tables of Great Souvenirs

Buy a super tote, a city branded notebook to keep your journal on where you are…shopping for these tokens is a great way to spend an afternoon.  And if you pick something out for a friend, they’ll feel like they’re a part of the delightful time you had shopping for something different!  It’s something you can do, wherever you go.  “A Table For One.”

Copyright 2015 Marion O’Grady

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