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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wrestling with the Spirit of Christmas.

I am not a lover of holidays.  It may be because I am so turned-off by the tsunami of Christmas ads, bad music, non-stop commercialism that starts earlier every year.  It may be because I am older and crankier.  It may be because all the hoo-ha exacerbates the fact that I am solo.  There is also the fact that my family is small, there are no little tots over which to squeak and squeal (I do that over my dogs.  In private.) and we are never able to all get together at the same time.  I have, over the years, begun a campaign to stave off the dark mantle that starts to settle over me mid-November.  I put on holiday music and change the lyrics to entertain the dogs.  I find something to bake.  I focus on the multitude of good things in my life.  This year I am tempted to dress the dogs up in embarrassingly silly get-ups and take their pictures.  I may put reindeer antlers on my cow, Jasmine.  She is very good-natured, as long as I have a cow treat.

One of the good things about a small family with no tots in attendance, is that we can skip the gifts.  Not only ease my financial burden, but it puts all ones focus on the gathering, the food, the music, the being there.  It is way more special.  Plus, it doesn't add stuff to my pile of stuff.  **I swear I will clean out my craft/office/dog/cat/room this winter**

Any gifting I do is homemade.  Whether the recipients want it or not...however, I doubt if the Barn Crew will turn down cinnamon rolls, nor will the postman, nor will the transfer station guys.  I do some selective gifting - homemade chicken liver pate for my neighbor - and other giftings that I am not at liberty to divulge.  New traditions that are a highlight of my holiday season is breakfast with my neighbor, Nancy, early on a weekday morning before work.  And possibly working in a gossip/knitting/catch-up session with my DS Melanie (HINT HINT HINT). 

Speaking of gifting, my 'boss' - whom I love to pieces - always overdoes it at Christmas.  She staggered in with a hefty basket that contained a lovely scarf (handmade by women in Nepal), a very nice girlie-type set of lotion and shower gel, a gift card for Amazon.com, an amaryllis bulb kit, and ... a re-gift.  I hooted with laughter when I opened that bag (containing two precious - read: expensive - bottles containing balsamic vinegar and a wild mushroom sage infused EVOO) and a card dropped out.  It thanked her for 'having' this couple over for dinner.  I am not complaining, envisioning as I am, that infused oil drizzled over some al dente pasta.  Providing I can find some GF pasta I can tolerate.

I am a firm believer in re-gifting.  As one who liberally bestows gifts on the unsuspecting, I always add to my greetings that they should feel free to pass it on if they don't want/need it.  That does not bother me at all.  What's the consensus out there on re-gifting?  Yay or Nay?

33 comments:

  1. I love to give things away that I do not use it makes no sense to hold onto it but some people do not like it. I want to see the pic of cow with reindeer antlers Bossy2 would have competition she keeps stealing my hats.... diva that she is. HUG for the holidays I know how you feel. Hug B

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    1. Buttons - Oh, to have such a lovely hat for my Jasmine! We will have to settle for antlers. A BIG hug to you for the holidays.

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  2. I would re-gift--IF I thought there would be no way the original giver would know. BUT--I know my luck....so, um , I'm a reluctant non-re-gifter.

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    1. Sue - That's why I give my blessing to the original giftee - no guilt!

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  3. I call it recycling:) It's all about finding the proper home for the proper gift, it should go to someone who will appreciate it.

    As for GF pasta, try Tinkyada brown rice pasta. It comes in a purple bag. It's the only GF pasta I can eat and it tastes great too. I get it at Price Chopper in their GF section, such as it is.

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    1. Dancing - I'll check our Hannaford's. I have heard of Tinkyada. I know to avoid any pasta containing corn. Besides turning the cooking water yellow, it's gummy as all get-out.

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  4. On the pasta front have you tried Cous Cous?
    On the re-gifting front a resounding yes but a warning on checking for gift tags! I have been given things that people think I would love and feel bad that they are things that hold not one gram of interest for me....like self help books on make up, or fine china tea cups...those things need someone who [a] wears make up or [b] doesn't feel like a klutz holding delicate china handles!
    Christmas has been so commercialized that a lot of it I just cannot bear. Ralph and I hope to have our own small Christmas with old traditions next year in our new home if we find it. It is after all Jesus's birthday not time to spend yourself into 6 months heavy debt!

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    1. Fiona - I love cous cous, but have not found a gluten free version. If there is one out there, let me know! I always appreciate the thought behind the gift, but I have gotten my fair share of gifts that are so NOT me. You and Ralph will have so much to celebrate next year!

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  5. Keep the joy going I say, but as long as it "fits" the person....hand made anything is simply the best! I like the idea of antlers on anything that is non-deer/moose! :)

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    1. Mrs DM - I will have to take a picture of Jasmine, although the lighting in the dairy barn is almost as dismal as it's been outside for a week... :)

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  6. I definitely re-gift but only if I make sure that the next recipient would truly appreciate the present and of course I make sure to remove any cards, etc.

    Funny - I received a gift this year from someone I work with - a box from Harry and David with four jars of (bell) pepper relish in it. Given that Harry and David makes all sorts of wonderful gourmet treats, I am sure they are great but also find it an odd choice when you don't know for sure that someone actually likes pepper relish?? I'm not sure that I will ever use them, hate to waste them, but also don't want to foist them on someone else who won't enjoy them. Sigh.

    Can Christmas be over yet??

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    1. Jenyfer - Pepper relish? FOUR jars? I agree, that is a most unusual gift for someone you don't know well. Frankly, even with someone you know well. Perhaps you can spread it around? I would be hard-pressed to know what to do with that much pepper relish. It's sort of like when I can it - there's no getting around having at least six pints of the stuff. And that can last me four years... It will be over soon enough - hang on!

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    2. Makes me wonder how many people that relish has seen... "for gawds sake will someone open me up and taste for yourself???"

      I will only regift if I know someone will appreciate it more then me too!

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  7. Here's an inexpensive little service project to get you out of the house and feeling festive. Take a stack of those Christmas/Holiday cards that you get in the mail as a come-on for more donations to your 'favorite' charity to your closest nursing home/senior living center. Help a few of the residents by addressing/writing cards to their friends, family, old neighbors, etc, as they dictate what they want to say. Provide stamps, and if you can't afford them, ask a neighbor or office co-workers to chip in. It's usually a good idea to arrange your time in advance with the facility manager, and you can even ask them to get addresses from family members beforehand.

    You can also do this periodically throughout the year, as communication with the 'outside world' is often difficult for those who no longer live in their own homes. Believe me, this little gift of your time means so much to some. And if you don't have any of those cards to re-gift, let me know and I'll rush a package of them to you.

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    1. Charade - That is a wonderful idea. I think I have a package of them in the recycling. I don't know if I can make it before Christmas, but I could save the non-occasion cards I get and use those. Thank you for the inspiration!

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  8. Susan,

    I'm say YAY! Re-gifting is a good thing:-)

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    1. Sandy - How do you feel about pepper relish..... :)))

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  9. YAY here too, especially if the gift can find a happier home.

    My son and his family are going to spend Christmas with her family. I'm relieved in a way because it means I don't have to drag out Christmas decorations and then put them away, along with the requisite dusting because of what I find when I move knik-knaks around. I only do it for the grandkids.

    It's true that commercialism has destroyed Christmas. It just doesn't seem to mean anything anymore.

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    1. Leigh - I guess we'll just have to come up with our own traditions. It may be because my mother is of German descent, but traditions hold a treasured place in my heart.

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  10. This year I feel like I'm on a runaway train that won't be stopping at the Christmas station, and that is surprisingly okay with me. With another job on my plate I haven't had time to finish my Christmas cards, do any baking, etc., and I didn't help decorate our tree. There will be several holiday visits to or from that we've got to shoehorn in, and that's about it. Oh, and regifting is AWESOME if it's the right gift/recipient combo, just like any other gift. BUT . . . all tags MUST be removed. :-/

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    1. Michelle - There is only so much space and time, isn't there? Somehow, the important parts of the holiday always are enjoyed - but OH, the stress! We've cut way back on the baking as well - my excuse of gluten intolerance has gotten me off the hook for everything except the nut balls.

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  11. If I cannot find the right person for the re-gifting, I simply donate it. I too, am a big believer in homemade.

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    1. Kristina - I do, too. I am determined to minimize this year, so everything that I do not need or love, goes. I knew you were a believer in homemade!@

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  12. i believe in regifting! one man's garbage is another man's treasure and all of that sort of thing! i make most of what i give to people too!

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    1. Jaz - Boy, would I love to be your neighbor and on the receiving end of your amazing cooking!

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  13. You seem to have some nice things planned, small and meaningful is the best way to go in my opinion. Knitting with my sister sounds like heaven but she is on another continent so not going to happen. I'm leaning towards Saturnalia, there was a reason for lights and good food at this time of year.

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    1. Susan - I am with you, as long as we can skip the sacrifice.... :)

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  14. Oops, forgot to ask about the cow. Totally missed you had one. Picture please.

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    1. Susan - Yes, my dear Jersey, Jasmine and her heifer (now officially a "cow") Alice are boarded with my dairy farmer neighbor. I will try to get a picture this weekend - I visit every Sunday.

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  15. If it is the Red Pepper and Onion Relish it is really good mixed with Cream Cheese and eaten on crackers. I think it would be good baked on chicken also. So yummy!

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    1. Peggi - Thank you for this! I can use some of my stash for holiday appetizers! Jenyfer - things are looking up!

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    2. Thank you so much for the suggestion!

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  16. It's been so nice reading on your blog and some others that I'm not alone in my non-love of Christmas. All the silly gifts we don't need, trying to figure out what to give people who don't need anything, spreading decisions all around the house just to figure out how to squeeze them back in the boxes a few weeks later and all the planning for get togethers to keep everyone happy. Ugh! But, believe it or not, I am doing better this year and last. At least I put up decorations and I'm working on cards and I'm doing less grumbling about it all. Lol. But, it will be nice to get it all over with and back to normal.

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