Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One of my most memorable presents was sort of re-gifted to me. I have a small collection of teapots that we have picked up over the years. I used to put them all out on display, but a clumsy cat stopped that practice years ago. One in particular was pretty adorable, it was a momma bear dressed up in a long dress, apron and moppet hat, and holding a baby bear. It looked pretty cute at Christmas time when I would put it out next to my Santa bear teapot. I don't remember now how it got broken, but it did and I put it out to be sent to the dump with the trash. I felt bad, but I learned long ago with 4 kids and several pets in the house at any given time, that things are going to break and you just have to remember what's important, so I felt bad, but not horrible. That next Christmas I opened a fairly heavy box from Becky and Vanessa. Inside was my bear teapot glued back together as best they could. Yes, I cried. It means more to me fixed than it ever did when it was whole. I still display it at Christmas and the obvious cracks and glue make it even more special. I suppose it's more like me now than ever.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas tends to make me feel rather reflective, I think part of it is hanging all the ornaments on the tree from Christmases past.  They all bring back some memory and then those memories poke other memories and pretty soon a person (okay me) has spent the last hour daydreaming.

Thinking more about gifts and ones that are remembered years later...
Unfortunately our oldest daughter has a memorable Christmas for a crummy reason. With 4 daughters to buy for, I tended to pick things up throughout the year if the occasion presented itself. A good idea, right? Well it would be if I had taken some time to list who I had gotten for and what I had gotten them, or noticed how many boxes were labeled for each child. Unfortunately that one Christmas, she got the short end of the present stack, and even worse, her dad and I had planned a funny surprise for her. Tired of loaning her my fingernail clippers we had gotten her a pair and to be "hilarious" we had put them in a HUGE box with tons of tissue paper. Well, her sisters had made quite the haul that year for what ever reason and she had a few small things, then came this big box. Yes, you may guess how disappointed she was with those clippers when her sisters all had clothes and toys and such and she had a pathetically small pile in front of her and a lousy pair of fingernail clippers. We both learned some lessons that year. I learned to make a list of each gift as I bought it and she learned that mom will overcompensate in a personal shopping trip to make up for the mistake! We had a mother daughter trip to Maurice's that January.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas gifting

Isn't it funny the gifts you remember, and the reasons you remember them?
 Every Christmas it's been the same, how do I find or make just the absolute perfect gift for each person I'm giving to? The years of gifts for 4 daughters a husband, parents, in laws, nieces & nephews, neighbors, friends... become a blurr. So many packages so many wrappings. Looking back I'm realizing that most of those gifts so carefully chosen or made are probably completely forgotten, with just a few exceptions, some good and sadly, some pretty bad also! Daughter number 2 probably remembers best a teapot we gave her when she discovered her love of tea. Not because it was such a beautiful pot, or especially valuable, but because of the pathetic wrapping job. I could not find a box to fit it properly, so I threw caution to the winds and simply wrapped it snugly with paper, being careful to go around the handle inside and out, the spout and probably even the lid. It was pretty obvious to the observer what it was, so the game of "what's inside this package?" was kind of lame for her. Still, I think that might be her most memorable gift.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Do you ever feel like you can't possibly deserve the blessings you have?  I feel that way so much.  We have a sturdy house- it certainly proved itself this summer with the tornado.  Plenty of food, often too much food.  A loving wonderful family and good friends.  We have  jobs that help us pay for everything, though I have to admit, there are more times than not that I am not so very grateful for my job.  I'd love to spend all my time at home with the cats and dog, sewing or painting or cooking or any number of more pleasurable activities than dealing with lawyers and insurance companies and computers.  Still, I really have nothing to complain about.  My job is in no way dangerous, and my working conditions are comfortable.

This time of year, I think makes us remember even more how much we have.
This time of year I tend to keep dollar bills in my pockets because I never want to pass by a Salvation Army kettle and not put anything in.  I love it when there are kids volunteering as ringers, or special needs groups who are giving their time.  But the most wonderful ringer of all
stands on the corner next to a coffee shop and across from the library in our town.  He has the most fantastic attitude.  If you put a dollar in his bucket he sings your praises as if you had given $100.  If you happen to give more, he still proclaims very loudly how absolutely wonderful you are and what a blessing you are.  Last year it was terribly cold one day and he was still standing there outside the warm up shed they have for him, so I gave him a hot chocolate and a cookie along with my money.  He was so effusive in his thanks that you would think I had saved him from starvation.
Today, I pulled over next to him and handed a 5 dollar bill out my window.  He lavished me with thanks and said, "it's been a slow day, but now you have turned the tide!!  It's going to pick up from here out!  You are so generous I could stand here in my stocking feet and not feel the cold one bit! You stay here I'll watch the traffic and let you know when it's safe for you to pull out."
See what I mean? 
Of course it's all for a good cause, but what else could make you feel so  great, and better than a dozen other things I could spend the money on.
God bless that man.