Friday, December 22, 2017

We Embrace The Handmade, Handcrafted, And Homemade Gifts

A couple of days ago, I published a blog post outlining how I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day growing up. Christmas Eve was spent with my father's side of the family. Everything from the food to the gifts was both elaborate and exquisite. As a kid, this was a much-anticipated event. The food was out of this world and the gifts were fancy. Now, as an adult, when I look back, the conversations revolving around how much it cost to make this dish or that, or the pride in shopping at this store or that store for gifts, was more of a competition.

Throughout most of my childhood, my mother was a crafty woman. She made gorgeous quilts and wall hangings and ornaments. In fact, she was the inspiration behind our Bodacious 2016 Salt Dough Ornaments. Often times, she made items throughout the year to give as Christmas gifts.

One year, she gave her hand-quilted wall hangings to some of my father's family members including his mother.

Years later, when his parents were going through the items in their basement and putting together boxes for family members, these wall hangings were included in one of the boxes given to my parents.

Although my mother was heartbroken, it came as no surprise.

My father's parents liked the finer things in life. I can remember one year, as a teenager, my grandmother gave me a blue sapphire ring with 2 diamonds on each side of the sapphire. I was honored until I had overheard a conversation at their summer lake house. The only reason why she gave me the ring was because my grandfather had bought her an antique ring that included 19 diamonds.

The ring she gave me was from the finger her new ring was displayed on. The ring she gave me was also (now) considered a crap ring. There was no sentiment behind passing down the blue sapphire ring.

About 5 or 6 years later, when I was 19, I visited my father's parents at their summer camp. I was wearing a pair of frayed cutoff denim shorts, a faded t-shirt, my Birkenstocks, and raw stone jewelry. My hair was down. I wasn't wearing makeup because during the hot weather months it irritates my face.

Before leaving, I had made tentative plans with my grandmother to spend a day shopping and end with dinner out.

After not hearing from her for several months after, I called her. She was evasive. I wrote her a letter several weeks later.

Her response was harsh. In short, she informed me that my appearance when I visited her was unacceptable. If I wanted to spend the day with her, I would need to upgrade my wardrobe. My Bohemian appearance was unacceptable. I needed to dress more like a professional young lady.

Okay, I'm getting off track here a bit, but I wanted to give you an idea of what I was dealing with.

As I got older and well into my adulthood, I embraced the values of my mother's side of the family. Simplicity. Handcrafted items. Down to earth. No competition. This extends to Lisa's side of the family as well. That would include unique second-hand items from yard sales and flea markets. Handmade items. Beautiful vintage pieces passed down from generation to generation.

This is what we have scattered throughout our home. This is what we prefer.

Lisa and I have both followed in these footsteps. Throughout the year we make handcrafted goods to give as Christmas gifts. We put together Christmas baskets. I spent a day baking gourmet treats that I only make this time of year.

The people in our life appreciate all of that.

More so, I appreciate the handmade, handcrafted, and homemade gifts that people give to us. That would include the scrumptious jar of zucchini relish made by Laura.

My great aunt Ida used to make jams and relishes and piccalilli. Our refrigerator was always filled with jars of these yummy goods.

I miss them.

I miss the handcrafted, quilted throw blankets made by Mrs. Clark.

The knitted mittens and hats made by my great-grandmother.

The jars of relishes and pickles and jams made by my great aunts.

So, in the here and now, when someone gives us a handmade item for Christmas or another special occasion, that means the world to us.

Thank you, Laura and Star for the sweet gift that always brings me back to my childhood.

I savor every bite. Hugs and love, my sweeties.

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