It’s better to give than to receive…

Recently on a forum I belong to, a conversation was started about Christmas gifts, and budgets and all that fun stuff. (Understand please, that on this particular forum, a posting about the shade of blue that the sky is today is enough to cause major eruptions of anger and argument.)

The supposition went thusly: You have $10 per person, and a list of people that included children, adults, relatives, friends and a charity.

What would you buy for each person?

(Not surprisingly, a number of posters chose to stand in front of the gift card display at WaWa on Christmas Eve….)

Others began by listing toys—shopping for kids seemed easier to do at that dollar amount.

Edible gifts were good for the adults often enough. Handmade items worked well, too.

And then, another bunch of posters began by saying they’d be ‘calling the adults in the family and cancelling the gift exchange’ so the extra $10 could be rolled into the kids gifts. And their friends, too. No Gifts For You!

That’s not playing by the rules.

Of course, Christmas magic in the eye of a child is a wondrous thing! I’m no Scrooge. I can and have and do appreciate the wonder and happiness when the child sees that SANTA didn’t fail them.

But. How can one teach a child about giving if they are the only ones getting? How can a child learn about appreciation of the small things (that ONE $10 gift from above), if they are treated yearly to a pile of Christmas gifts whose value rivals that of the salary of a person in a third world country?

How can a child, who possibly threw out the orange their mom packed in their lunch last week, begin to IMAGINE that had they lived in another time and place, that that orange could have been their Christmas gift? (btw, NONE of the children of the posters on this forum would EVER throw out food. They are all angel children. Just so you know.)

If you were to say to this child, “Child, we have $10 to buy a gift for each of the people on this list, what should we get?” don’t you think that the child (especially a younger one) would find  joy shopping Dollar Tree, and be bouncing up and down with excitement, waiting to watch the grown-ups in their lives open their gifts??

Can you imagine them deciding that Grandpa doesn’t need a gift so that they can spend more money on Grandma?

Children are selfless, until we teach them to be selfish.

Now, an exercise. Could YOU shop for everyone on your Christmas list with $15 per person? (I’m not Scrooge, remember??) Not counting taxes or shipping charges, could you find meaningful, unique and desirable gifts for everyone, using that as your budget?

(To keep things honest, if you spent $12.99 on Johnny, the change goes to charity, not to embellish the gift for Janie….)

Can you do it if you ONLY get to shop at Kroger’s?  (Kroger’s is my downfall. I walk through there and $100 jumps out my pocketbook. I begin to think I like to cook. I am fascinated by all of their wondrous international foods. Kroger’s is dangerous.) Well, quilt stores are dangerous, too. But fabric doesn’t go bad.

However, pick your favorite upscale grocery—Wegman’s, Ukrop’s, Harris Teeter. And cross off anything that is perishable and requires freezing or refrigeration—(there goes the easy gift…ice-cream for everyone!) And it doesn’t HAVE to be food.

Could you do it?

PS Thanks everyone, for the well wishes as our two new kitties move into our home. Gandolf? and Roar-y? (Who knows, yet) But they are settling well. Gandolf especially, who has made himself quite at home, and is driving Miss Tatiana to distraction. Roar-y just hides. Pictures….

Things that go bump in the night…

(It’s Halloween week, so it seemed appropriate)… Halloween hasn’t been very much of a big deal in this neighborhood. This year it’s on a Saturday, and I HOPE that means that trick-or-treaters will be coming on the 31st. It’s odd here, in that they MOVE the trick-or-treat day…don’t get it at all….the 31st is All Hallows Eve…not a different day.

(And who knows, maybe this year I will even have trick-or-treaters in COSTUME, not just a bunch of teens in messy t-shirts with rumpled Ukrops bags…)

What DOES go bump in the night around here are the acorns…acorns It sounds like gunfire, a steady machine-gunning of the house; a good stiff wind in the deep dark night can be incredibly disorienting when you think you are alone in the house!

We removed some oak trees two years ago, and left others, but pruned them. Apparently the gentle pin-balling action of the acorns from the branch down, leaf by leaf till they gently and quietly plopped onto the roof has given over to a rapid-fire falling and smashing against the roof! And they fall. Fast. The squirrels can’t keep up with the feasting (…although they try, really, they try.)


(The remains of a squirrel feast on the corner shelf of our gazebo, also known to the local bushy-tailed as “The Squirrel Day Spa”)

I’m expecting other things to go bump in the night, as well.

Our two new kitties (Rory and Thaddeus, maybe? Sebastian and Delos? Dale and Squirrel for the moment) are here …somewhere. They managed on arrival to fit their fuzzy Maine Coon butts under the trundle part of the bed in the guest room. I’m being generous when I say its 5 inches of clearance, but they had to climb thru the bars to even gain that much. And yet they pulled their 11 and 14 lb bodies down there!

IMG_5396 copy IMG_5390 copy

Since then, they have moved to the bottom shelf of the CD case and behind the living room couch. Where they are now, I couldn’t tell you.

But something tells me that in the middle of the night, they will come out to explore the house under cover of darkness…(and they may find Miss Tatiana doesn’t approve…) Things could certainly go bumping around tonight!

Christmas is coming…

…and I am aware that I’ve been slacking… Did you know almost 40% of your holiday prep time is GONE gone gone… and here I am, neglecting the posting of my “Christmas is coming, the sky is falling!” blogs…

My excuses, such as they are, are as follows:

  • I’ve been hanging out with friends.
  • I’ve been traveling.
  • I’ve been taking photos (Almost 600 images that I have shot over the past few weeks are grinding around in the computer waiting for processing so you can buy them!)
  • I’ve been fondling my quilting fabrics, thinking, planning, plotting….
  • I’ve been buying out the book section at Goodwill, so I have many more excuses not to do housework.
  • Oh, and housework.
  • And work-work.

Yet, time waits for no woman to prepare for the holidays. I DO have my Christmas cards already. They aren’t signed or addressed or stamped, mind you, but they are HERE!

I have the gifts for that list of ‘just a little something’ people almost completed, and I do have a ‘short-list’ of gifts for the majority of the family. Which is really a SHORT list this year (No, not the family–I haven’t off’ed anyone! Just the quantity of gift$ per person…)

The biggie is always Timmy. As I usually get one REALLY GOOD IDEA. And then, his birthday occurs on December 2 and I end up giving him the REALLY GOOD gift then, and have to hit the drawing board again….


Of course, since these two beauties will be joining our family on Sunday, I may just buy him stock in lint rollers—meet …well, Nameless and Nameless Jr.- (25 combined pounds of FUR)

I posted a poll last month. You responded that you feel that handmade is better. You preferred to give and receive thoughtful (and possibly handmade) gifts.

So, share with me, and the thousands (lol) of other dedicated readers…What are some of your favorite gifts you’ve received –and why?

And, one last thing…if you are looking for a bit of spiritual whimsy to add to your holiday stocking, check these out…my brother’s newest cool venture!