Is it just me, or was it just July 4 a few weeks ago? Someone told me yesterday that Thanksgiving is next week, and I told her she was crazy. And then my daughter in law in Indiana asked me about our schedule for coming up there, and I wondered why she was in such a hurry to know that. Now I realize that everyone else is tuned-in and I am in some kind of time warp.
Truly, I am thrilled that the holidays are here and once again promise myself that this year I will take it slow and enjoy every minute. I was struck when I first read A Child’s Christmas in Wales about how the child described by Dylan Thomas and his family gathered pine cones and berries and made ornaments and gifts. I imagined myself outside on a blustery day collecting odds and ends and then coming back to a kitchen smelling of fruitcake and gingerbread to put together homemade gifts. Ah, the luxury of downtime.
When I lived in Charlotte there were holiday parties to go to every night and I was catering quite a few of them, so it was a relief when the holidays were finally over and we could go back to a more sedentary period when all I did was schoolwork at the kitchen table. I had had my fill of fancy foods: shrimp cocktail, prime rib, and French cheeses. Mainly I was tired of sweet things. Students and friends gave sugary gifts, and I was happy to go back to my junk food of choice: greasy, salty foods. Good-bye chocolate bark, candy canes, and toffee, and hello potato chips, french fries and fried chicken.
This past week was gray, cold, and rainy, and business was very slow. I spent time putting out Christmas stuff and getting ready for Holly Jolly and the holiday rush, but now that’s done and I can be like the child in Wales and can find time to make simple things out of found materials. I started to make some jewelry today out of some great clay beads made by a friend in Taos. Tomorrow I might make some garlands and strings of cranberries, as the weather is supposed to continue to be awful. When the weather improves this weekend, I’ll go back to rushing around.
I love the up-cycled items that friends make and I sell in Chifferobe. Sheila Martin makes fabulous sweaters and sweatshirts using items she buys in thrift stores. Barbara Hume makes stunning aprons from antique table cloths her mother in law finds at the Highland Farms thrift shop. And I carry jewelry from several folk artists made from old tin cans. Yesterday I went to Asheville to comb the antique malls for interesting containers to use to hold forced bulbs. I have amaryllis and paper white bulbs growing in vessels in the windows to be ready for Christmas. I will remember to feed my paper whites vodka to keep them from getting leggy.
At home I will bake all kinds of cookies, brownies, biscotti, and other treats to give away. Ron’s men are big fans of the extra fudgey brownies I make using a recipe from Maida Heater. And I will make ruggelach over a period of evenings, as they must be refrigerated between steps. All this will happen if I don’t run out of steam.
And in addition I will work on ornaments to put on the tree Ron has helped me with that you can find at the Monte Vista Hotel. Opening November 30, you can view and vote for the trees that you like best. You vote with dollars, and all the money goes to the Christian Ministry to help locals with food and heat this winter. The theme this year is “Angels Among Us.” You will have to wait and see my take on the theme, though.
So be an angel to yourself this year and make time to enjoy the holidays. They go by faster than this summer and fall did, so celebrate!