Friday, November 15, 2013

And slowly...

Last night, I sequestered myself in my office after dinner, and turned on the Nutcracker Suite station on Pandora very quietly, and made these stars. It must be the early snow. 

No. No, no. It's always this way, isn't it? I get stirred up in November

Every Christmas I tell myself, "Ok, this year is going to be easy." And every year, of course, I break my own rules. But this year I think I'm getting a handle on things. I'm finally figuring out my own gifting style, and letting go of the guilt and pressure I think we all feel to buy things. I don't really like buying things, even when I know said things will be useful to their recipients. Of course, some things are necessary and inevitable, but I want the bulk of my gifting to be made. I used to sew something for nearly everyone on my list, and as much fun as that was, I'm feeling pulled by other winds lately. I spent my whole summer and fall growing and preserving food, and everyone needs to eat, don't they? I put up hot sauce and pickles and salsa and tomato sauce and caponata and pesto. 

So I'm getting on board with a different approach: a basket of abundance for every couple on my list. Stuff I've canned surrounded by some locally made soaps, honey, maple syrup, and dressed up with an ornament, maybe, or a quick potholder. Something like that. Honestly, the garden is a big reason I'm not sewing as much as I used to-- it's just so much work in September and October, putting up and putting away! Good work. Invigorating work. Delicious work-- I grow too much to eat myself, so I'm going to start sharing.

And I love baskets. I love buying baskets (secondhand) and I love filling baskets, and I love dreaming about the willow saplings I've planted that may someday furnish the materials for me to be making baskets. And who doesn't love receiving a basket? They're homey and cheerful and comforting. 

So yesterday I pulled in whatever materials I could find around the yard (twigs, Virginia creeper vine, dried iris seed pods) and got to work improvising some festive little bits and bobs.

The older I get, the more I realize that it takes a long time to figure things out. Like, your whole life is really just one long process of figuring, and every year is different, you get closer. (Closer to fine?) I guess I expected that at some point I would just arrive: I would have everything--cooking, cleaning, gifting, loving, working-- set in an easy, satisfying pattern. My late twenties was spent waiting for that day to come-- that magical day when everything would be easy. Never came. And now I'm almost 31, and realizing I need to give myself permission to keep evolving, to always be learning and searching, and to never be perfect. 

That's a damn good feeling. 

Sheesh. Who would've thought a simple post about Christmas could've turned into such a philosophical ramble. Well. Thanks for listening. And happy Friday!

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Becky said...

I like your philosophical rambles. I too try to give something I make to folks at this time of year. Nice to know others do the same. Your baskets sound fabulous!

Kristina Strain said...

Thanks, Becky. Making gifts is the best!

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