Christmas Cards

Growing up, as soon as the Christmas cards started showing up in the mailbox, my Mom, after opening them, would tape each and every one along the door trim of our dining area. For the next month, and possibly well into January, there would be a mural on the wall of angels and Christmas trees and giant snowflakes and scenes of snow covered landscapes. And, let us not forget, the cards with flying reindeer, and Santa, and the well dressed snowman with a corncob pipe and a button nose. As a child, I remember peering into the cards as they stuck half-open on the wall and reading (over and over again) the verses and greetings in each one. My sister and brother and I could stand across the room, point to a card and without looking, tell you who the sender was. There were cards from family, friends, my Dad’s work buddies, distant relatives, and even a ‘Christmas Appreciation and Thank You’ card from our little local grocery store, G & J Market.
My Mom sent cards as well and often during the month of December our kitchen table was a sea of envelopes, card boxes, stamps, and address lists. She always bought the assortment box of cards with the clear lid so you could see one example of what you were getting. She shopped at Woolworths for her greeting cards (remember Woolworths?) and if we were lucky and being that we were in the midst of cheery Christmas spirit and all, chances were good that we would have a lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup ( Campbell’s) at the Woolworth lunch counter. The best! Of course, after Christmas all the boxed cards went on sale and my frugal mom would buy up several boxes. Often, however, they would get stored away and forgotten and we’d end up buying a new assortment just before the holiday the following year. Don’t worry Mom, this is happening to me now! Oh well.
Christmas cards and connecting with folks far and near is a way we can all send a small acknowledgement, a gift of words and a gift of graphics, from our homes and hearts. I truly swoon over Christmas cards and I send many, but I also keep some and simply place them around the house to enjoy the artwork. A small price to pay for art, heh? The growing season here at Fernwood is a busy time that doesn’t leave much opportunity for card sending. Right now, just like the maple dining set in my childhood home, my table is scattered with cards awaiting a few sentences, a wish for holiday cheer and blessings into the New Year.
Tis, the season for such things and it is a Christmas tradition that I can happily partake in! Well, off I go with pen, cards, envelopes, and stamps before the post office closes! Happy Holidays Friends!


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…..