Snowman coasters while still in August?

Published 9:37 am Friday, September 4, 2015

“These have snowmen on them,” I told Sera as she proudly showed off our new coasters. They were her latest find from one of the local thrift stores, and she couldn’t wait to tell me about them. I didn’t really realize we needed coasters, nor why we needed snowmen on them.

We’ve lived in our house for a few months now, and I think Sera has finally come to terms that our previous coasters are lost. I never paid much attention to them, but I vaguely recall putting my glass on a cheap plastic disc in the past. These days we’ve been resting our cups on our luxurious Ikea table where water rings may now be appearing. Thankfully we now have a family of snowmen to prevent that from happening.

Our new set of coasters features a father, mother and three snow children all bundled up and closely embracing each other. They’re all grinning as beautiful white snowflakes fall in the background. They’re drawn in a style reminiscent of my mom’s stamping collection in the mid-2000s before the Internet really took hold and people had many choices for how things looked. I was not surprised to learn that someone had donated them to the thrift shop. I was surprised that these were now mine.

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My propensity for saving has clearly rubbed off on my wife, and it should give me great pride that she saw a need and found a cheap solution. Unfortunately, I think she’s taken it too far this time. The best deals are when you find something perfect at a low cost. The definition of “perfect” can be stretched a little further at a thrift store since you know you’re not paying the full price. An example would be when we bought a bed for our dog. Sure, the zipper wasn’t the most secure, but it would do the job well enough for a few months. In general, “perfect” at a thrift store means something generic enough to fit in most settings.

While these coasters are acceptable for a few months out of the year, I don’t imagine our home decor being winter themed year round. Sera’s going to need to drop quite a few more hints if that’s her goal — though it does explain her recent countdown to Christmas and the occasional holiday tune. To Sera’s dismay, I prefer to live in the present.

We just stepped out of August and I have snowmen in my living room. This kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen until Thanksgiving is over, and it usually has an appropriate exit point in late February when hopefully the snow is melting. Our current exit strategy has us using these until they no longer function. Have you ever heard of a coaster breaking? I haven’t.

I’ve been told that the only other option for coasters was a set adorned with wolves howling at the moon. Though not seasonal, Sera feared they may inspire Beesly to pick up the howling habit. Apparently snowmen were the lesser of two evils.

I initially picked on my wife for her purchase, thinking 99 cents for a set of seasonal coasters was a waste of a buck. Then I visited and found a coaster holder (no coasters included) for over $10. Who knew coasters were expensive? This is why we have gone months without them. It’s a relatively unnecessary expense. I anticipated we’d pay about a buck each, so a set of four wouldn’t be too big of a deal. Apparently retailers value protecting my table at a higher amount than I do. We paid around $40 for the table, and I do not intend to pay half of that to ensure my glass is resting safely. To Sera’s delight, I guess this means we’ll continue to adorn our table with snowmen. Hopefully the thrift store will have something more perfectly generic in stock the next time we go shopping so these snowmen can relax happily in a tote nine months out of the year with the rest of the holiday decorations.


Rochester resident Matt Knutson is the communications and events director for United Way of Olmsted County.