Picture 2045I find that we often refer to the gifts that come with our living the life we do here at Fernwood. All of the things that keep us engaged and happy here…..our time together, providing our household with the food we grow, doing work that we love. Pretty amazing gifts. But today, as we near that moment of gift giving that will have us up in the wee hours, still in our pajamas, and sipping our freshly brewed coffee underneath a lovely balsam fir that has been brought inside, I want to mention the gifts that will be thoughtfully packaged underneath that tree. Have you ever heard someone say that they don’t like Christmas? I have. I think the Christmas holiday (for some) can bring on a bit of panic, and expectation, and some disappointment. I can understand this, our world has gone ahead and taken a moment in the year that should reflect the importance of peace, joy, and love, and created an occasion for emotions that aren’t at all very reflective of these things. The panic, the feeling of not having enough time, the craze of buying too many gifts to bestow on someone, which also can require loads of money …for what? I always shutter at this, and feel quite certain that if we had to ‘do Christmas’ this way, I’d feel pretty overwhelmed as well. But we don’t. I love this time of year. I love the reflection it can bring. I love making a gift , knitting a hat with wool from our own sheep for a neighbor or friend or loved one, a token of my appreciation for their very presence in my life. I think about them as I sit quietly forming those stitches, happy also to think that this gift will become a symbol of my love and fondness for them. I like feeling that this warm wool hat will help to keep their noggin warm when it’s 20 below.

small homemade candle holders

small homemade candle holders

old found objects  we've collected...the makings of a shelf for Noah's cabin

old found objects we’ve collected…the makings of a shelf for Noah’s cabin

the calendar Sally made me for Christmas...and beyond, a reminder of our days in Ireland

the calendar Sally made me for Christmas…and beyond, a reminder of our days in Ireland

I was gifted a page in the calendar, too!

I was gifted a page in the calendar, too!

The gifts I love best are always the ones that are personal and thoughtful. Yesterday I was given a beautiful calendar from my dear friend Sally. It was made up of the photos she had taken throughout the year, pictures of our travels together, moments we’ve shared on our adventures, all reminders of the great times we have, and the love ( and fun!) our friendship brings to one another. I keep flipping through the months, looking at the pictures, and being reminded of all those moments. A Very thoughtful gift, yes indeedy.
We feel fortunate that the kids have always had a good handle on Christmas, what it means to us as a family, and how we choose to spend it. We all agree that the meals and time we share together are irreplaceable. We’ve all been in the habit of making gifts for one another, or regifting things, or repurposing old items to create something new and special. We buy some things as well…not much, but we’re not against finding a little ‘something special’ to place into our stockings. Chocolate. A book. A box of tea. One year Zoe tracked down the very shoes I wore and loved in high school ( a pair of leather Clarks), bought them and put them under the tree. The thought of her listening to me fondly reminisce about those shoes, and then searching to find them is so touching…I’m still wearing them! When Noah was twelve and I asked “what might be nice for you at Christmas” and asked him to write it down, he left a slip of paper on the table for me. There were two items, numbered 1. and 2. The first was a welder, the second was ‘scrap metal’. That’s what he got, a used welder gifted to us from an old friend and a pile of scrap metal. He was delighted.
bulbs to be potted up and given

bulbs to be potted up and given

A pot of rosemary and some festive trinkets (found)  for a dear gardening friend of mine...who also loves to cook.

A pot of rosemary and some festive trinkets (found) for a dear gardening friend of mine…who also loves to cook.

If I could wish for one thing this Christmas, it would be to slow time up a bit. I’d like the 31 days of December to be spent thoughtfully, one day at a time, with each and every person I love. There is some magic to Christmas. There is ceremony. There are lovely gifts to give and receive. I hope everyone makes the most of this holiday season and finds just the right way to spend their Christmas.
Blessings to all…..

15 comments on “Gifts

  1. Love your thoughts. As we panic at the last minute, we need to take a minute to reflect on what is really important,Family,Friends Health etc and the real reason that we have Christmas in the first place. Thanks for voicing your thoughts, memories and day to day meanderings. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. As I read this I recalled two gifts, hand crocheted. One made by a Gilda’s club volunteer. A blue lap robe. They are free and it just had a note saying ” bless you, I made this with prayers for you” What a comforting gift. 5+ yrs and all good. The other a soft neck scarf made by the 90 yr old mother of my clinic nursing supervisor. She wanted to make gifts for all the nurses who were so nice to her “girl” . Her girl being around 60 yrs at the time.
    You can’t buy what these convey. Thank you for your gifts to all thru the year.
    Merry Christmas and a New Year of more blessings.

    • Oh Sue, what a nice story behind those gifts…..they do matter, don’t they? We all have such hearts for these things…these tokens of love and well wishes, how is it we get so sidetracked sometimes? Have a delight holiday…a healthy and happy New Year, best to all..denise

  3. There is absolutely nothing I enjoy better than a hand-made gift. To care enough about someone to make or get them something you know they want is the very best part of Christmas giving. I love the time leading up to Christmas, but I think some folks are turned off these days when the season seems to start in August instead of November. 🙂

    • My dream of a perfect Christmas season would truly be to give each and every person I so dearly want to spend time with…quality time , just that. To make a pot of tea and some yummy festive cookies, to decorate the table for just them, to sit across from them and really be present for that connection. That would be a gift.

    • Merry Christmas to you as well, Linda! Thank you so much for the kind words, they are an inspiration for me to keep writing. I really appreciate your comment! Happy Holidays, Happy Winter, and blessings into the New Year. denise

    • Hi Kerry,
      I only wish the Month of December ( the entire month) would be declared a global holiday, time off ( with pay) in order to spend it with others……quietly and thoughtfully. No better gift than making time. I am so glad my family ( the kids) have always embraced this intention. I am so relieved that a pile of gifts under the tree has never been the focus….we’re all happy with a few delights stuffed within our hanging stockings! Merry, Merry Christmas to you, Kerry……so glad that my world includes the friends I’ve made through these blogs ( yours, mine, others)….a real gift as well! Blessings, denise

  4. Your comments about the gift of time and thoughtful attention are spot on. Nothing is more precious. But, I have to say, your handmade gifts are pretty special, too. Have a time-laden, slowed-down Solstice, Christmas, and New Year!

    • Oh, my great wish is to have the world spend their Christmas Holiday, enjoying , in abundance, the real things that matter…, friends, time, something homemade, and Christmas cookies! Blessings to you this Holiday season!

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