So, here we are. It’s just a few days after Thanksgiving and I’m looking at the calendar and seeing that December is coming tomorrow. Time this year is the strangest I can recall it being ever. It seems to go both fast and slow; fast as winter holidays, if we count Thanksgiving, are already in progress which signifies that 2021 is almost here; slow as our pre-Covid lives seem so long ago and far away.
We are all connected and it is especially important to continue to practice safe procedures–masks, hand washing and sanitizing, not touching our face–as we care for ourselves and those around us, and the ones around them, and around them. This is part of a practice of kindness…to think of the health and safety of others…that will help our post-Covid lives to come more quickly. Basic time-honored crafts, like bread baking, sewing, soup and casserole making, and yes…pie making…provide therapy for me as it has for so many others as we wait, too.
Time to Move
I also find comfort in moving furniture around. Really! I say to you, tongue in cheek of course, that my real raison d’être may be to move things around. When I see in my mind’s eye that a carpet or chair would feel really nice if it were moved over here or over there….well, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle as one step leads to another, and that step leads to another. Of course, when I start the process, it begins some deeper cleaning because of all the dust bunnies uncovered when the couch is moved. When I reach the moment of taking a deep and easy breath, I feel I’ve arrived at a new configuration that I enjoy for a time, until the moving bug starts in again. It’s a good thing that I have placed casters on the legs of all my mostly 2nd hand, estate and garage sale furniture so I can just push and slide everything here and there easily.
Treats, Gifts, and Goodies
When I sat down to write the post today, I thought it was going to be one that included gifts, presents, and treats to consider giving for the winter holidays…all with links for easy ordering. But, the more I thought about doing that, I realized that most, if not all, of those links would go to a large online retailer and that just doesn’t feel right anymore in this time when our local hometown businesses are doing their darndest just to keep going.
So, instead of linking you anywhere, I’d like to suggest that you take a look at the suggestions below. Then call or email your local stores and see what they may have, buy it from them, and do curbside pickup if offered, or if it is for someone far away, ask if your local store offers shipping.
My mom and grandmom called them tea towels. New ones make me smile. I like how clean and bright they are. Because of the money I save from giving up paper towels years ago, I am able to buy a dozen or more new towels every year. The old ones become my cleaning rags.
Glass Jars for Herbs and Spices
I buy my herbs and spices in bulk and, awhile back, traded in my motley collection of mismatched jars and partially filled little plastic bags for a matched set of jars with lids. I opted for a 1 cup/8 ounce size which is larger than the ones on the shelf at the grocery store. Be sure to renew your herbs and spices annually. A gift certificate to an independent online spice store would make a lovely gift, too. And if you are wondering if I alphabetize my herbs and spices, the answer is “yes.” It’s so much easier to find that for which I’m looking.
There is something that warms my soul when I see the flame of a candle placed safely above my hearth. I buy beeswax votive lights and to honor special occasions like a birthday, solstice, or the release of a new book, a larger and taller beeswax candle. Yes, 100% pure beeswax is more expensive, but it burns clean, longer, and has a lovely smell.
Over the years I have had times with a lot of houseplants around me, and other times with just one or two. Right now, the arrow of the houseplant-o-meter seems to be moving towards “Add More.” I have two new Christmas cactus, one a vibrant fuschia color and the other a very lovely apricot. They bring me cheer when I see them. One of things I love most about my plants is that I can propagate them as gifts to give to others throughout the year. Which leads me to…
This is the season that new seed catalogs will start arriving, either by mail or by downloadable PDF’s. If you garden or know someone who does, a gift certificate to a seed catalogue might be something to consider for gift giving. Or one or two pots with a few herbs on a sunny windowsill are a great way to remember that spring is just around the corner, too.
Do a web-search to find the local independent bookstore in your town, or the town of the person to whom you will be giving a gift. Call or email the store, and ask how to best purchase a gift certificate. Remember that audio books and puzzles make lovely gifts, too. I’ve made a commitment to purchase one book a month from my local bookstore. I consider it a form of tithing.
Regifting and Buying 2nd Hand
If you are like me, I bet you have some things that are lightly or never used just begging to be placed in a new home. Regifting is a great way to move our treasures on to someone who will appreciate them. I’ve also found great treasures, for myself and others, at local 2nd hand and thrift stores.
The gift of giving is one of the most important. Food banks can use monetary donations any time of year. Your local food bank may have a website donation link, and if not, call them and ask how best you can give.
At the end of the year, I will be removing the Amazon based shop on my website. Until I make a new webpage with suggestions of pie and baking tools and equipment, consider that page to be used as a resource for your own research. But, whenever you can, please support “mainstreet,” and purchase from your local vendors, craft markets, and farmers markets, all of which can use our support right now. This gift of service is one from our hearts.