That’s my goal. We’ve been hit hard with car repairs and other expenses, as well as runaway inflation, so our plan is to either make all our presents by hand, trade, maybe use a few low-balance gift cards we have and just generally make this a different kind of Christmas. When I mentioned this to some of the family, I included that Dollar Tree gifts or gift baskets could be done, but I don’t expect to do them myself. It’s just an option if anyone wants to.
Josie, on her Cedar Creek Homestead youtube channel is talking this week about having a simpler Christmas. She tells a wonderful story about a Christmas during her childhood when all she wanted was a rocking chair, but knew there was no money for one and didn’t expect to get it. But out in the barn was an old rocker that had belonged to her grandpa. It was in rough shape.
But unbeknownst to Josie, her parents had plans for that chair. While she was at school during the day, her mother had been going out and sanding, repairing and staining the chair. On Christmas morning, there it was waiting for her. She was so surprised and pleased. Josie had a love for old things, so it was a double blessing.
This story reminds me of a couple of things. One was the story in Mark 14:3-9 about the woman who anointed Jesus with the ointment. She was criticized but He defended her saying “She hath done what she could.” What marvelous praise!
Another thing Josie’s story reminded me of was something my mother used to say: “It’s what you do with what you have that counts.” I’m not responsible for what’s impossible, but what I’m able to do.
My parents were a young married couple during World War II. This was before toys were mostly made from plastic, and metal was being used in the war effort, so new toys were scarce, and tricycles even scarcer. Daddy found a used one, and like Josie’s mother, cleaned it up and gave it a new coat of paint. And that was what my brother got for Christmas that year. Strangely enough, it was the start of his life long love of everything on wheels; everything from bicycles to motorcycles to race cars. I even saw him ride a unicycle once.
So, I plan on looking around at my assets and take stock of what I can do this December. I don’t have the talent of my sister to knit and crochet, or my friend Abby to bead or do paper engineering, but I can sew a little, bake and do a few other crafts.
Our home is full of books and magazines with projects and ideas.
One thing I tried this past year was making my own potpourri. We had a lot of oranges that needed to be used, but were past the eating stage. I sliced the nicest looking ones, put them on a cookie sheet and set it under our wood stove to dry them. I couldn’t believe how nicely that worked. For the others, I scooped out the pulp and dried the peels on the window sill on brown paper bags. Our back pasture is full of wildflowers, which my husband picked and brought to me later in the year, along with some berries (I have no idea what kind they are, and it didn’t matter since they weren’t for eating). After drying the flowers, I mixed it all together with the orange peel. No, it doesn’t smell as lovely as the store-bought kind, but essential oils or cinnamon oil can fix that.
I really like the chunky kind of potpourri, and was able to have some for free. True, it wasn’t nice enough to give for a gift, but it’s in the Making Do category.
I hope to do what I can, with what I have.