For the past 20 weeks I have been on bed rest growing the next generation of northern Vermont farmer, I hope! Since I do not sit still well, I have spent much of my time crafting, knitting, crocheting, and planning next year’s farming projects including pigs, expanding the greenhouse, vegetable garden, etc. Before I turned the computer on this afternoon I was working on a sweater which I hope will be a well received holiday gift. Last week I finished one for my sister-in-law and I have also been working on a couple of items which will keep my son cozy and warm this winter.
As I lie here knitting with the television on in the background, I am amazed by the onslaught of marketing messages for ‘Black Friday’ deals and Thanksgiving sales. Perhaps I have always been working or I hardly ever have the television on so I have never noticed the insanity with which the advertisements come flying out at you. Knitting the next row, I laughed out loud at the woman in the hideous red jogging suit training for the ‘Black Friday’ madness. The morning news show I was watching while I ate my breakfast was discussing the ‘must have’ technology items for this holiday season. There was a time when I couldn’t leave the house without my car keys, my wallet and my cell phone. Today, I don’t own a functioning cell phone.
The other day we received a package via traditional, non-express, non-overnight delivery from the U.S. Postal Service. Hard to believe, I know! Inside that package was something for the baby; however, it didn’t come from any store. Inside was one of the most useful of handmade gifts – bibs. These were no ordinary bibs; however, they were made from boring, inexpensive, white washcloths. One corner was removed and a tie was sewn on using multi-colored bias tape. The bib protects from spills, wet the washcloth and clean up baby boy and his high chair, then throw the whole thing into the laundry. The usefulness of this simple gift which took some time and a little sewing ability was worth far more that that ‘must-have’ technology item from the store with the whacko woman who has been training for over a month now. Many of the clothes that we have received for the baby have been recycled either directly from family or at a tag sale. One of my favorite gifts is a plain, off-white blanket embellished with baby patches and appliqués, not available at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning in any chain store.
This year's holiday gifts are all either handmade or recycled; knitted sweaters, homemade jams, jellies and pickles, and if the baby is late - homemade cookies are an annal favorite. Yarn for a crocheted scarf and a cookie jar, which are wrapped and waiting for the holidays, came from box lots at local auctions this summer. Maybe after 'Black Friday' that woman spilling frosting all over the floor will realize that holidays are for being thankful and spending time with family and friends. Giving gifts is not saved only for holidays; being thankful for all that we are blessed with and sharing it with others should happen each and everyday!