Yup, the holiday race is officially on. Check out any retailer and they will let you know that you need to buy something right now while their prices are low and you need to buy from them. With the economy being as bad as it is right now, everyone is in a pinch, so it's a slow start. But, I've had years of experience of being in a pinch and believe me, the race can be a little slower and alot more personal and even more affordable.
For years I have raised not only my own kids but foster kids too. When I was orinally married it was tough and it was also tough when I became a single mother doing all the same things.
My daughter grew up going to Goodwill for our clothes shopping and even doing some Christmas shopping when she was very young. Through the roughest times, we still managed to have wonderful and fun Christmases and we learned to share with those around our little world.
Each year, since Amber was born, I have bought or made each child a new Christmas ornament and put their name and the year on the back or bottom. This tradition came to me because my first Christmas away from home was my most lonely and forlorn.
We had no money, and had just moved to a new community up in the mountains. We lived in a very small basement apartment, and had almost notfurniture. Our couch was an army cot with a large pink pillow my husbands old girlfriend made for him (fun for me). Our bed was a single mattress on the flour and we had no dining room chairs, just two yard sale bar stools.
We had no Christmas tree or ornaments or decorations at all. I made a construction Christmas tree with curled paper for the branches. It was 1 and 1/2 feet tall and I cut out pieces of some old wrapping paper I'd kept, into stars and lamenated them with clear sticky shelf paper.
My new husband at the time had to work all Christmas day and I was alone, sitting infront of my little tree and I cried. Coming from a large family (I was the oldest of 7) I was used to lots of commotion, people and excitment surrounding all of the holidays. This was such a culture shock I didn't know what to do. I didn't think of calling home to my family because I didn't want to barge in and bother them during their celebration. I was under the wrong assumption that once we left home we should not bother our parents for piddley little things like being lonely.
I decided when Amber was born that none of my children would leave home without some special Christmas items to remind them of home and their childhood and so the tradition began. As each of my children and foster children reached 18 or left home or went home to their families, I gave them all the Christmas ornaments that they had been putting on the tree every year they grew up. I am still carrying on the tradition with my grown children and all the grandchildren as well.
Anyway, doing without did help me to desire to reach out to others after that, so when my children reached toddler age and on, we also made special little baskets of fruits or nuts or some other munchy and we made noodle angels that we painted gold and put on strings for ornaments. We made styrafoam popcorn stringers for our tree and construction paper chains too.
Over the years we did such things as baking bread together and pies and pumpkin bread and we made wood crafts we painted or whatever. We gave them out to relatives and to older neighbors we met, even the mean old lady that lived next door that always yelled at my kids for who knows what. My very young daughter (at that time) learned that everyone needs to be cared about and deserves to receive a gift, even grouchy ones.
The foster children I cared for enthusiastically got involved and made something special for their parents and they were so proud. I think it is very important that children learn to care about other's while they are very young and that feeling will carry on into their teen and adult lives and as parents themselves.
I had guardianship of a boy with cerebral palsey in a wheel chair and mental age of about 2 or 3. He was 17 when I got him and he lived as part of our family until he turned 21. He also got involved and did his best to paint a craft for his mother and he laughed with the glee he felt for being involved with the whole family.
My daughter, Amber, began to carry on the tradition of giving homemade love gifts with her children since they were very small. It is something they look forward to and they love bringing Grandma and Grandpa something they made especially for us. It is really true that what we give to other's will eventually come back to us in some form or fashion and what better way to see something we have begun being shared with so many other's.
Amber may post on her blog about how she and her little brownie scout troop that her 7 year old daughter is in, gathered food from family and friends and delivered it to Care and Share last week. They collected 96 pounds of canned and dry foods. They helped the workers stock the shelves while they were there. Now, her daughter Mariah wants to have her birthday party there next summer and have her friends bring food and help stock their shelves.
When taught how to love and share, children are the most selfless people on earth. Not many grownups can say they would just love to celebrate their birthday party at Care and Share working!
Yesterday Amber and I, along with her baby, Evan, went to the baby shower for her stepsister who is having her first baby in January. She decided to have it extra early since the holidays are upon us and she will be due mid January. As a first baby there is always the chance she could deliver early too, making it too close after the holidays to have a shower with a time safety margin.
She already knows it'g going to be a boy so everyone knew what kinds of things to buy. Amber made a very warm baby blanket for her and I pitched in with the material. Her own kids all have one and they still use them all the time since they are really nice and big. Here it is below. the back has teddy bears and the front has fire engines and police cars etc. so it should be good for many years.
Today I had my granddaughter and neice, both close to the same age, and we went to the western 'Ghost Town' museum here in town. We had a great time. They especially loved the old western jail with a jailbird included.
The stage coaches and first motorized cars were so cool.
They saw a mercantile with the types of things people could buy back in the 1800's and there were no racks of cute clothes or shelves of games and toys or anything especially colorful but it was definitely a peek into a past they just couldn't imagine. I took several pictures of our fun.
There was even a bent mirror that made them look especially tall or extra short and they even got to pan for gold.
Well, last but not least, news about David that everyone has been so loving to think about and pray for. He chose to skip the PET scan appointment and said he didn't want to know. Actually he does but he is afraid they might say it's not all gone and they would have to do it again. He doesn't always think past today and when he is emotionally caught up in other issues he can't face this too. Not the wisest choice but he's 18 and want's us all to know that.
I am hoping and prayers are still needed that he will see the wisdom in getting this taken care of even if he does have to do the chemo one more time to be sure it's all gone. He still hasn't grasped the reality and the seriousness of his situation but I hope he will not let time pass much longer and will try to resolve all the effort that has been put into his getting well. He is so lucky so far and just doesn't get it yet, so please keep remembering him until he get's back to the doctor.
p.s. My husband, my brother with his 3 boys and my father, all went rabbit hunting today and got nothing. Are they bad hunter's or where have all the bunnies gone? At least they took their fishing poles and tossed their lines in the river and resevoir awhile too but not much luck there either.
I think those guys just go out there and sit around a little fire and roast hotdogs and tell tall stories all day. I may have to go along and make sure they are doing their duty out there. I told my husband I wanted some hosenfeffer for supper but nothing but an old beaver head skull did he find. The grandson liked that though.
Moral of the story? The more hunter's you send out, the less likely they will hunt!! Ha!