Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 1 of the Rest of My Life

Well, there is no excuse; I've just been neglectful of the blog.  Perhaps it's the blog name, "Still Finding Cash".  Over time, I guess I lost faith that the topic was of interest to anyone but me and, hey, I talk to myself all the time, I didn't need to be writing to myself, as well.  

Then there were the health issues that cropped up two years ago and hung on far too long, first one, then another, nothing earth shattering except for the fact that each time it would take months of tests and more tests all to come up with something as lacking in definition as they were lacking in resolution.  At first I thought of it as a blog opportunity; go to Mayo Clinic, document the process, report on treatment and results.  But it was far too tedious and boring.
Now it's Christmas time and somehow the world and the blog look different to me.  I'm still searching my brain for ways to do things well and for as little cost as possible but I'm less dedicated to the silk purse from a sows ear mentality.  I've even been a bit indulgent and have loved every minute of it. 
Big ornaments hung on existing lines by children & grandchildren Thanksgiving afternoon.
But before you get the idea that I've gone on a spending spree, I guess I need to fill you in on my idea of indulgence.  I think it's doing something to the extreme that you wouldn't ordinarily do.  That might sound a bit standard until I add that one of my indulgences included giving away more than half of my Christmas decorations.  And, I loved every minute of it.  I even gave away the big trees.
There were several advantages to that action.  I now have a grateful husband who will never again have to get the furniture dolly to drag nine 33 gal. bins inside from the garage.  I've got it down to three and they are nowhere near as heavy.  Another advantage is that I completely decorated in three hours instead of three days.  I'm using little trees that can be put away fully decorated.  

I know that would be a boring nightmare to most of you who spend time and money coming up with a new look for your tree each year.  Believe me, I understand.  I've had white trees and gold trees, north-woods trees and children's trees.  I've had multiple large trees, formal trees, casual trees, old-timey trees and kitchen trees.  And, up until we moved from Alaska 10 years ago, I had kept almost everything I'd ever used as decoration.  But it hadn't taken me long to re-accumulate all that I'd pared down and then some.  Now, for the most part, I'm just adding Christmas touches to things I normally have out and use.
The huge leaf is a cherished leaf gift from my sister.  Adding a box full of random silver ornaments turned it into an instant centerpiece.
Looking around my house tonight, I realized that even with my now-limited Christmas stash, I have inadvertently recreated the warm and cozy feeling of Christmas as I felt it as a child.  I'm not seeing the glitz or patting myself on the back for my creative genius.  I'm not seeing all the work that went into it because it isn't there.  I'm just seeing Christmas and all that it really means.
And I'm doing a lot of remembering...remembering less hectic and more simple times.  They were easier to enjoy because they came naturally, quietly and without all the fuss and without all the stress.

This post might run on a while because there's a lot on my mind and a lot I want to share.

I have a daughter who has come to her own appreciation of making memories and who has brought real Christmas meaning to her family in the traditions they are establishing.  I remember, years ago, being absolutely staggered at the sheer volume of toys her children possessed.  Now, they are excited at the thought of each receiving five gifts: something to read, something to wear, something to do and something to share.  In addition, they each may ask for a "wish" gift.  
Her family traditions, begun a few years back, include making decorations as a family, (20 minute yard stick star) baking together and coming up with and carrying out random acts of kindness, of generosity and of service.  The star above is one of their decoration projects, cost $3.57 and will be a priceless memory.

They are a family that warms my heart and gives me hope that the things I knew as a child that were good and real and lasting actually have lasted, not because they were taught from generation to generation but because they are the fruits of a grateful heart.  And isn't that what Christmas is all about anyway?

So, that was one of the things I wanted to share.  Another is that five years ago, out of financial necessity and a huge family, my husband and I came up with the idea of an over-the-top gift exchange on the order of a Chinese Auction.  Our variation was that instead of each person buying and bringing a single gift, we asked guests to bring as many gifts as they could come up with and spend as little money as possible.  We suggested re-gifting, clearing cluttered cupboards, yard sales and thrift stores as resources. 
These are just the gifts I'm supplying
The first year, we had a huge pile of gifts and a great time.  By last year, the number of gifts had grown to a mountain and took hours to open.  We laughed so hard we cried.  This year, things may get completely out of hand.  The gift exchange is this Saturday and I'm as anxious as a child on Christmas Eve.  

Another thing I wanted to pass along is my menu.  Since this will begin about dinnertime, the meal is on me and I have quite a few requirements to meet.  I don't want it to delay our gift opening.  I want the 4 year-olds to be able to handle it without imposing on the parents.  I would like some hot food, not just sandwiches.  Vegetables would be nice.  Finger food is preferred as is the ability to eat it from a plate on your lap.  So, here's what I've come up with:
Spinach and Artichoke Mini-Pizzas - Broccoli/Bacon/Tomato Quiche Tarts - Hot Ham and Cheddar Pinwheels - Fresh Vegetable Skewers - Fresh Fruit Skewers - Mincemeat in Mini-Fillo Shells - Orange/Fudge Brownies - Melted Snowman Cookies (the link was unsafe but here's the photo) - Rum Fruitcake
I'll share photos as the event unfolds.  Welcome to December and welcome to day 1 of the rest of my life.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Love it! Can't wait!!! :-)