Monday, October 13, 2008


I have gifts on my mind this morning. I finally realized it was past time for me to start my holiday list-making. I've got my husband's clan coming for Thanksgiving, so I've started a list of fun things they might enjoy doing while they are here, and I need to start thinking about meals that can please both our vegetarian, and Mr. Where's-the-Beef. But mainly I need to get started on my list of what to get everyone for Christmas. I would so love to be able to make a lot of my presents, but can't think of anything I could make, that anyone would actually want or use.

When I think back on all of my Christmas-Pasts - all the shopping I have done, gifts I have bought and wrapped - they are pretty much a blur to me now. The only things that really stand out in my memory are the very few times I actually made most of my presents. There was the year when I machine-appliqued sweatshirts for everyone. Then there was the one when I made my beautiful quilted tree-skirt, and made lap quilts for the kids and John's dad. Oh, and there was the time, when I first went nuts over gardening, that I was doing landscape designs for everyone, and putting together container gardens for them, or offering them my services as pruner and planter. (I was much younger and less arthritic then!) Out of more than 50 years of giving, I only remember 3 years distinctly? Sad!

The same holds true on all the gifts people have given to me. I'm sure there have been hundreds that have been thoughtfully purchased, much used and much appreciated, but for some reason, my mind has not been able to hold on to their images for long. Right now, as I sift back through the years, what are the things that jump out at me? The box full of Barbie clothes that Mimi made for my new doll; the matching red velvet dresses and corduroy bathrobes Mom sewed for me and my sisters; the wooden trundle bed Dad built for pre-teen me and the footstool he and my sister worked on together, and which is under my feet at this moment; the cradle, swing, rocking horse and circus wagon toy box that George made for my babies, and the doll house he built for me; the carved birds that Theda made for everyone in my family, Priscilla's Fimo creations and Megan's famous Christmas Hooch; the one dress Kathy sewed for me, even though she hates sewing; the times my kids planted all my seasonal color as a birthday gift to me, the beautiful shawl Lex knitted for me, and of course, the handmade and crayoned Valentine card John made for me once, that started out "To an oolie-droolie girl...", and that other one that contained a very memorable, original poem, which is, unfortunately, unprintable.

These are the gifts I remember. All those lovely, expensive, purchased gifts? Not so much, I'm afraid.

P.S. You can click on the to-do list, to enlarge it enough to read.

"Why not give our children a course in advertising; not how to do it, but how to defend against it...the greatest threat of advertising is that once it teaches our children that they can have salvation if they buy, they silently accept that they cannot have salvation unless they do...The formula is simple...You create an ad that will make us feel ever so slightly inadequate, then offer a product to make us whole again. Bingo!...we can be conned into buying even the most embarrassing crock of doo-doo within days." Ferenc Mate


Polly said...

One of the best Christmas gifts I ever go came from my sister, Janie, about 10 years ago. I had been complaining that I could never think of anything new to fix for dinner, that I had heard once that most families eat the same 10 meals over and over. For Christmas that year, she gave me a beautiful recipe box with 40 recipes that she had hand written and illustrated from her family and friends. Each card was laminated to keep it clean. The front card said "Every time you use one of these, please remember that you have a sister who counts it a blessing to call you a friend." I still use those, and have added so many more. Still my favorite gift!

Hill Country Hippie said...

Hmmm! That might be a great gift for the younger ones. Most of the older ones aren't much into cooking these days. Just after I wrote this post, one of my co-board members at The Bountiful Sprout sent out an email suggesting we might put together some gift baskets made with our yummy local products, or plant up cute pots with sprouts, etc. for the holidays. That combined with some good recipes would be an excellent gift, don't you think?

Polly said...

That would be a wonderful idea. I love giving (and receiving!) gift baskets.

About the recipe box - when my niece married 18 months ago, my sister made one for her, with all the family recipes Julie had grown up with. I love that gift for a bride.