The Mall of Mom

Happy December 8th! Our family knows this as Nick Rose Day but that’s a story for another time.

Yesterday when I said that today’s post would be about holiday music I was just kidding. My bad. That’s what you have to look forward to on Day 10.

Today I’ll fill you in on one of my family’s gift giving traditions as Kelly and I celebrate December and decorate our

Partners in a Pair Tree.

Our two children are the oldest grandchildren. As such, they were generously showered with gifts from grandparents and aunts and uncles. Very early on, our kids started wanting to reciprocate in some small way to show their appreciation for the gifts they received.

Walt and Annie would take a few dollars saved up from their allowance and go shopping.

This shopping trip would usually take us to the grocery store or Venture (our version of Target before Target was invented). They would buy a pen for Uncle PJ and a package of shortbread cookies for Uncle Alex, things like that.

Sometimes they would use their allowance to buy supplies to make handmade items.

All of the presents were gifts from the heart, given with appreciation and love.

This worked beautifully for years but as the kids got older they wanted to step up their game. You can only give Uncle PJ a writing utensil each year for a few years until he has a complete set and you want to move on to something else.

Problem was, that “something else” was surely going to cost more than their budgets would allow.

That’s when I started The Mall of Mom.

The Mall of Mom

Each year I would hit up the after Christmas sales and pick up a few things, priced at 75% off, that might be good gifts for the aunts and uncles the following year. Then I’d keep a look out during the year for little things to add to The Mall of Mom inventory.

Come December, the kids would shop for a few things at The Mall of Mom – in which everything is priced at 100% off retail. After checking a few folks off their list with presents from The Mall of Mom, their allowance would go farther in buying gifts for the rest.

The Mall of Mom was a simple and inexpensive way that I could help our kids keep up their tradition of acknowledging the generosity of all family members.

As Walt and Annie grew older and got jobs, they no longer shopped at The Mall of Mom.

That didn’t stop me from continuing to add to its inventory.

For many years I would fill the shelves with little fun things to send in care packages to college students, my own and friends’. I would pick up cute, inexpensive items as I saw them to have a ready supply as needed.

In the current phase of my life, The Mall of Mom has evolved into a place to collect future hostess gifts. Too often I would find myself, on the day of a party, racing around looking for the perfect thing to bring.  Now I just open the drawer and shop from my own supply.

Believe it or not there are those rare occasions for which wine is not the answer.

Who knows, perhaps before too long The Mall of Mom might become The Mall of Grandma as the family tradition continues with the next generation.

Partners in a Pair Tree Day 8

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Mo… what a great idea! At one time, I had a “gift” closet filled with hostess gifts that I found on sale. Hope you have a great week!

  2. Brilliant idea Partner. Brilliant. I am particularly fond of the 100% off sale price and the nonexistent store rental fees. Thank you for the inspiration. I’ll be opening my own mall in the new year.
    Kelly McKenzie recently posted…The Mall of MomMy Profile

  3. We always were given $10 and free reign at the Christmas Tree Shop. Love the idea of the Mall of Mom. I should start my own hostess gift drawer- so smart.
    Kate recently posted…Time for my things of thankfulMy Profile

  4. That’s an awesome idea! I’ve been meaning to start a little collection of gifts so that I’m never caught empty-handed. I think I’ll start this year right after Christmas!
    Kristen recently posted…I need a new hobbyMy Profile

  5. I used to buy ‘stuff’ all year to put into Christmas stockings. Having only boys in my house, it was particularly fun to get things for my nieces.
    Kathy G recently posted…Getting The Hang Of ItMy Profile

  6. That is an awesome idea, Mo. My mom helps my kids shop for my husband and me, so I’m sure your grandchildren would love the Mall of Grandma when they get older. I have a gift box for hostess gifts or spur of the moment bday gifts too – it’s good to have something on hand just in case.
    Dana recently posted…Sign here, SantaMy Profile

  7. What a great idea!!! I could use your “mall” on occasion – not for the price but the convenience!!!
    Kim recently posted…Lessons Learned from a Group of Middle School BoysMy Profile

  8. I love it! Of course, if you are coming to my house… just stop by and buy a 5th of Jack Daniels…. 🙂
    Julia recently posted…All I Want For ChristmasMy Profile

  9. I LOVE this post! 🙂 Lisa and I are so enjoying this series with you and Kelly. 🙂 Both of you are just awesome. And the Mall of Mom a tradition I am totally adopting! Thank you!-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted…We Do Want THIS “Cole” in Our StockingMy Profile

  10. What a great idea!! It’s a great tradition! Hopefully it will be carried on by your kids too!
    Michelle recently posted…Personalized Christmas Gift Tags {Guest Post}My Profile

  11. Mo – what a great idea!! But really, wine is always a pretty goo answer, too. 😉
    Cori O’Shaughnessy recently posted…birthday 4.0My Profile

  12. mo, that is such a great idea! can you put your ‘mall of mom’ on etsy so that we can buy stuff from you?!!! it’s so funny how times have changed as i only shop online now. keeps me from buying unnecessary stuff, but at the same time, i have no ‘mall of mom!’
    catherine gacad recently posted…I’ve Been PoisonedMy Profile


  1. […] of Me – Otherwise known as The Mall of Mom, this is a place – a cabinet or drawer in your house – where you collect simple, classic gift […]

  2. […] On the eighth day of Partners in a Pair Tree Mo and Kelly gave to you: The Mall of Mom […]

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