Autumn Auction, Fun for Holiday Preparations
As the kids were growing up we started a tradition in our family, “The Auction.” Starting the day after Halloween the kids would get to start earning their money for the Auction. The money was fake money and had to be earned by doing household chores. The bigger the job, the more the ‘money’ you could get. The jobs ranged from easy ones the little kids could do to much harder ones the older children would tackle. The ‘money’ was saved carefully until Auction day. We usually held the Auction after Thanksgiving and a few weeks before Christmas. The purpose of the Auction was to help the children to have a way to buy each other presents for Christmas; and, to teach them to be responsible and that work can be fun. If a child had earned a lot of ‘money’ and lost it he had to start over. If he spent all his ‘money’ at the Auction for food or toys for himself, he wouldn’t have presents for his siblings for Christmas. If he waited too long to start earning his ‘money’ he wouldn’t have enough for all he wanted to buy.
It was comical sometimes watching the kids fight over the jobs. One afternoon as the older kids came running in the house from school. They were trying to be the first one in the house so they could get the job of washing the hall walls. My neighbor was over for a visit as they came scrambling in trying to be the first to get the job. “Mom said I could wash the walls!” “Huh-uh, I got here first so I get to wash them” they were shouting! My neighbor turned to me in shock and said, “How do you get them to do that? My kids won’t even clean their rooms!” I explained to her that the walls were worth a lot more than cleaning their rooms. One time a neighbor child was playing with my kids and they were working for ‘money’ for the Auction. The child watching got so excited he asked if he could have a job, too. He didn’t even know about the Auction or the ‘money,’ my kids were just so enthusiastic about the jobs that he got caught up in the fun.
The Auction itself was an exciting night. The children were able to view the items before we started so they could plan their strategies.At the Auction a child could buy all kinds of things including food, toys, and books, things for themselves or for others. We would sometimes auction whole pies or sometimes cupcakes or hotdogs or small items for the price the first one ended up going for. Dad was the auctioneer and many lessons were learned as children would start by bidding each other up. Older children would save their stash for a particular item and wait for others to use up their funds. There was lots of laughter and some tears as someone won out on an item that another coveted. Little ones didn’t realize the toys they wanted would probably be under the tree from an older child. It was fun to watch older children help the younger ones learn the art of bidding and strategizing. Many times one child would share his ‘money’ with another child who couldn’t afford the item he really wanted.
The Auction was a wonderful tradition. It tied the holidays together and helped bring a special Christmas Spirit to our home as children planned what to “buy” for their siblings. It has carried on to new generations. We all remember the Auction with fondness, and all have learned a lesson or two from those great times.
Photos from sxc.hu Used with the permission of andyculpin.