Collecting (Things of Little or No Value): Christmas Magazines

Spring may seem like a strange time to be writing about Christmas, but there is a method to my madness. I suppose you have noticed how expensive magazine subscriptions and the individual newsstand and checkout copies have become in the last 5 or 6 years. Even so, I am still tempted by them, especially during the cold weather months when I have more downtime.

There is something about sitting down with a hot drink while the wind blows and the snow drifts and escaping into the lush layouts of beautifully decorated homes—especially at Christmastime. The problem is that $5 to $10 price tag per issue! Times are always tight at our house during the holiday season which is bracketed by hefty state, federal, and local tax bills.

These holiday magazines, however, routinely end up in thrift stores and garage sale later in the year—or years later—when their first owners have gotten their full use out of them. One of my favorite thrift shops always has a corner of shelves stacked with magazines of all descriptions. During my last visit, I hit the mother lode of Country Living magazines from the 1980s (the golden era of country decorating!). I love these magazines because they have sumptuous layouts of Christmas décor, as well as excellent articles on collecting, nice mini-histories of whatever objects they are showcasing in that issue, and high-quality editorials and essays.

Christmas is timeless. The more nostalgia the better! The date doesn’t matter as long as the pictures, recipes, and articles are good—and the price is right. I don’t like to pay more than a quarter for a magazine of any kind, but I will go higher for vintage back-to-the-land and Organic Gardening magazines—and really pretty Christmas issues! Many times people will sell periodicals for 10 cents each or give them away (FREE!) at garage sales. Book sales will often give away magazines. If they appear in thrift shops or antique malls, you will always have to pay. In this case, I got six magazines for a little over 50 cents each (a tad steep but I just couldn’t resist).

I am resisting the temptation to read these magazines before Halloween! I will put them in a plastic slipcase and stow them safely in a closet until the trees are bare. Begonia

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