A Sparkling Vintage Life


A Christmas story from L. M. Montgomery

This week the Sparkling Vintage Life Ladies’ Reading Circle is reading and talking about “Christmas at Red Butte,” a short story by L. M. Montgomery, beloved author of Anne of Green Gables and many other stories. Come join us on Facebook if you like fiction featuring the early 20th century time period.

L. M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery

Marshall Field’s Ornament Giveaway!


Update 12/19/2016: We have a winner! Slayton.amitchell, I’ll be contacting you for your mailing address, and this little soldier will be on its way to you pronto. Thanks to everyone who participated!

“Say the word ‘Christmastime’ and most people think of manger scenes and jingle bells, the glow of colored lights and the flutter of angels’ wings. But at the great Marshall Field & Company, Chicago’s premier department store, Christmastime meant all that and more, along with enough crowds, clanging, and clatter to shatter a sales clerk’s nerves. I know this because that clerk was me.” (Marjorie Corrigan in  The Christmas Robe)


Readers of You’re the Cream in My Coffee and The Christmas Robe know that the heroine, Marjorie, works at Chicago’s world-class department store, Marshall Field & Co., in the 1920s. While this sweet toy-soldier ornament does not date back to the 1920s (alas!), it is a genuine Marshall Field’s commemorative ornament, complete with the original gift box. It’s in excellent condition, gold-finish metal filigree with a silky cord, about 4 inches tall. And I’m giving him away to a Sparkling Vintage community member! To enter the drawing, do one of two things:

  1. If you’re not already signed up to receive my e-newsletter, sign up by entering your e-mail in the box at right. All new sign-ups between now and December 18 will be automatically entered in the drawing.
  2. If you’re already part of the e-newsletter community and you’d like a chance to win, say so in the comment section below, or drop me a line on  Facebook and I’ll add you to the drawing.

That’s it! A winner will be chosen at random on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 18, and the ornament mailed out to the winner on Dec. 19 (U.S. and Canada only, please.)

Merry Christmas!









Have yourself a merry vintage Christmas

ill be home for christmas larger

Ad in The Saturday Evening Post, December 1946

I love everything about this 1946 Greyhound ad, which appeared in magazines the same month that the holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, appeared in theaters. There’s something about the spirit of those times that plucks at my heartstrings. The man, the wife, the boy, the simple house, the classic tree…no matter what’s going on in the world outside, within their little home–at least for the moment–they have all they need and want.

The 1920s short story “A Christmas Robe” will remain available for free, a little while longer, by signing up for my newsletter at right. It’s also available for 99 cents on Amazon. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, and can take a minute to leave a review on Amazon, I’d be most grateful.

I wish a very merry Christmas to all my Sparkling Vintage readers and kindred spirits, and pray that the wonders of His love will touch each one of you this season. If there are ways I can better serve you with blog posts, short stories, and novels in 2016, please speak up and let me know what you’d like to see. In the meantime, sparkle on!


Sunday Serenade: Brightest and Best

three kings

As we head into the new year, with all its fresh starts and turnings of new leaves, here’s an old Epiphany hymn that I’ve always liked. This is the version I’m most familiar with. However, I like this one equally well, and it’s a little more upbeat.

In the liturgical church calendar, the season of Epiphany marks the visit of the magi, sometimes (wise men) to the Christ child after his birth. “And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, the offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:9-11)  Traditionally Epiphany was celebrated on January 6, twelve days after Christmas.

The words to the hymn are:

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid;Star of the east, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Cold on his cradle the dewdrops are shining,
Low lies his head with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Savior of all.

Shall we then yield him in costly devotion,
Odors of Edom and off’rings divine,
Gems of the mountain and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest and gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would his favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

According to my hymnal, the music was written in 1811 by Reginald Heber, and the words were added by James P. Harding in 1892.

I wonder what happened to some of these great old hymns. So few people sing them or even know them anymore, yet they have such beautiful tunes and rich, meaningful words.


Blue Christmas? When the sparkle is dimmed, magnify your joys

blue christmas I apologize, dear readers, for my lengthy silence. As I’ve been traveling through one of life’s valleys–the serious illness of someone dearly loved–certain other commitments have taken a lower priority, including my writing. This Christmas season, it seems that all the colors are dulled and all the sounds muted. It’s been difficult to summon up my usual sparkle. But I take comfort in the fact that it is only that–a season.

I’ve missed you all terribly and look forward to returning to regular posting soon. In the meantime, I am reminded to count my many blessings in this passage from Good Form and Social Ethics, a 1913 book written by Fanny Dickerson Chase, who lists several wise words that still stand true a century after they were written and should help all of us thrive in the new year. She writes in part:

*Be sympathetic. Let others feel the healing touch of your life. It may be that your hand-clasp may mean much to someone.

*Magnify your joys if you will, but not your griefs. The world is already full of sorrow and trial. The best way, perhaps, to alleviate the keenness of one’s own bitterness of soul is to remember that others are bearing still heavier hearts.

*Do not be a slave to other people’s opinions.

*Don’t be intrusive.

*Be quick to forgive and to forget an injury.

*Glorify your task, however humble, by regarding no service as menial or overburdensome. The attitude of the mind toward certain tasks does much in producing the fatigue they occasion.

*Be as ready to perform the humble service as the more attractive one. . . . A young woman possessed of the spirit of true service needs no other beautifier, no other attraction. By this alone, she will win her way into the hearts and lives of those about her, and accomplish a service for the betterment of the world that all other accomplishments without this spirit could not hope to perform.

*Hear accurately; speak accurately.

*Cultivate carefulness and precision.

*Don’t underrate anything because you are not the possessor of it.

*Do not be thoughtless, and do not be too ready to excuse yourself or others for lapses of courtesy or of responsibility due to so-called thoughtlessness.

*Be slow to discredit another’s word or action. Believe in others until you are forced by absolute proof to disbelieve.

*Don’t insist on having things done your way where principle is not involved. Give way gracefully to another in things unimportant.

*Be truthful. Give no place in your life to the faintest departure from truth.

*Do not be a servant to moods.

*Do the right thing; keep your promises, irrespective of your feelings.

*Don’t be reluctant to do another a favor, if it is within your power to do it.

*Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you. In other words, don’t worry.

*Do not take undue liberties with your friends.

*Be careful not to interrupt one unnecessarily.

*Do not be soured and worried by disappointments. The secret in bearing disappointments graciously lies in regarding them as God’s appointments; substituting “H” for the “d,” the disappointment becomes “His appointment.”

*Stand in your place and lift. Lift in your town; lift in the school; lift in the home; and lift in the church. Watch for the small opportunities.

*Court suggestions and reproofs from those who are brave enough to offer them to you.

Sparkle on!



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Jennifer Lamont Leo