The Christmas Spirit is sort of passing me by at the moment. It may be that because shopping for useless stuff that nobody cares about isn't high on my list of priorities. Or perhaps that shopping for me involves several hours spent on a bus. I think mostly it is because of my disgust for the commercialism that has become Christmas.
Christmas when I was a kid was a wondrous time of year. There was the tree that always filled the house with the scent of pine, except for that unfortunate year when Dad bought one of those silvery aluminum trees popular in the late 50's - the ones that looked like several rolls of aluminum foil had exploded! There was the smell of cookies and breads and pies baking. There was the careful placing of the nativity set that reminded us of why there was a holiday in the first place.
There was the planning for Christmas Day when relatives would gather at our big old farmhouse. Mother, ever the perfectionist, planned down to the last detail. The good china was washed and dried and silver was polished. The good lace tablecloth was covering the dining room table, with a red cloth underneath to show through and look festive. Pine branches decorated every available space, adorned with ornaments and ribbon.
There were hours spent in secret, making gifts for parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. Sometimes we would buy Grandma a bottle of her favorite perfume, but more often the gifts were made with our own two hands. One year it was hand knitted slippers for everyone, and another it was some crafty thing that Mom had us make. Later in my life when cash was scarce , I would fill boxes with the home canned goodies I had made and give those.
Oh, there were purchased gifts as well, but it seems as though those times of going to town to shop for Christmas were enjoyable as opposed to the frantic, hectic shopping of today. I guess we weren't trying to out-spend our neighbors. Big ticket items were not on the list. I remember saving my money for a box of monogrammed handkerchiefs for Dad to use in the pocket of his Sunday suit. Or finding the perfect fancy teacup and saucer to add to those Mom collected.
Those shopping trips to town always included a drive around after dark to look at all of the beautiful Christmas lights decorating people's homes. Or walking up and down the streets admiring the Christmas scenes set up in store windows. There were the usual Santa and elves displays, but there were also scenes of the baby Jesus in the manger, with Mary, Joseph, shepherds and angels. Of course, this was long before anyone took offense to this depiction of Christmas.
I guess I really am getting old, for I find that the memories of Christmas Past have much more appeal to me than Christmas Present. And I can complain about it until the cows come home and nothing will change. Unless I change it.
I have been under the weather for the past three weeks, so little has been done here in the way of actual physical work. But I did spend time searching the Internet for ideas and patterns for homemade gifts. I didn't do a very good job of planning ahead for this Christmas, and there isn't time to put to use those ideas. But there is a long, cold winter in my near future here in Minnesota, and I can't think of a better way to spend it than in making things for those I love.
Maybe my Christmas Spirit isn't dead after all. Maybe it has just been postponed for a bit.
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