Last August, when it was so hot and dry, but yet the pole beans were doing fabulously production wise, I spent alot of time canning. And harvesting seeds. Yes, I was putting things away for next summer’s garden as well as for the coming winter months. While I was at it, I was thinking about Christmas gifts.
I hate the consumerism of the season. Hate buying a bunch of stuff. Hate receiving it too actually. The year I got a new crock pot for Christmas I was ecstatic, because I love getting everyday things I can use. Part of me feels old and boring with this, but I suppose that’s what happens when you are married with kids at a certain age. I got alot of handmade gifts growing up. My Aunt Loretta gave me the most wonderful handmade gifts. I still have alot of them, like the paper bead necklace, the ornaments she made me, the story she wrote for me and best of all, the recipe for the cherry cheesecake she would make me some years. She would bake gifts for everyone – there would be a pie or cake for every member of the household. I’m still in awe of the amount of baking that woman could pull off at Christmas every year. I aspire to bake like her, but even the years I do 25 dozen cookies and 3 cakes, I’m not sure I come close. That woman baked.
In that tradition, I give handmade gifts. I used to sew everything, some years I still do alot of sewing, but I have come to figure out things I can work on all year long. Which makes me feel slightly uptight and way too on top of things, but right about now, when I’m starting to get overwhelmed thinking about everything that has to happen between now and the big day……..I really start loving myself. Sort of like the years I get Pat’s January Birthday peach pie in the freezer in August, so after all that holiday and Edie birthday baking, I can pull something out of the freezer and have it be homemade and good. And last year, when I was out flat recovering from surgery, I was giddy to discover a stash of things I had already knit for Pat & Edie throughout the year, so they still got a hand-made mommy gift. I know I wasn’t that good this year (admittedly, I’ve been working on the same pair of fingerless gloves since last winter’s swim lessons), but I do have some good garden treats ready to go. If I learned anything from last Christmas, it was that my little bit of planning ahead is a very good thing.