A Very Walton-esque Christmas

Just press pause.

Just for a minute.

Before you hit ‘complete order’ on that T-Rex Fingerling or tap in your pin number at the mall for one of Oprah’s favorite things, take a breath.

It continues to astonish me that Oprah doesn’t comprehend how utterly revolting and shameful this annual display of bloated consumerism is…Or maybe she does, and just doesn’t care.

I know you’re trying to knock out your gift list, but I have a crazy, subversive suggestion.

Make like Ma Walton and make some of those presents.  I don’t mean a corn cob dolly or a new Sunday dress from a flour sack; unless, of course that’s your jam, and there are people in your life who have always wanted said dolly or Sunday dress. Is there someone on your list who’s tough to buy for?  So, don’t.  If you know them well enough to give them something, you know something they’ll like.

Maybe your recipient’s that guy that returns everything.  They probably won’t have the chutzpah to turn around and give back to you something you created with blood, sweat and tears.  And if they do, take that ingrate off your list.  They’re going to be difficult no matter what you do, so do nothing and they’ll be just as upset as usual.Maybe it’s a secret Santa gift, or you want to give something to someone who surprised you with a gift.  A treat from the kitchen, or something useful that you’ve made is nonspecific yet personal.

And, I can promise you that a gift you made will be unique until the end of time.  They will never, ever receive an exact duplicate.  Scout’s honor.So, Gentle Reader, you’ve decided to take the plunge and rock a homemade holiday.  The inevitable next question—make what?

I’ve got a few ideas, Bunky.  Really though, when have I not had some ideas?  Have you met me?Kitchen gifts: Everybody loves a food gift.  Not sure?  Think about the last time somebody brought some unexpected grub to your place of work.  Grown responsible adults turn into gleeful children at the appearance of a box or tray of goodies.

Is there some food or drink that you make that friends or relatives have spoken about with longing?  There you go.

me and bo

Bo and me (dark hair), about a million years ago (around 1989).  This is the same night I cold-cocked a guy in a bar for grabbing my ass…

My best girlfriend, Bo loves my brown sugar pound cake.  Every year I’d make her a dozen mini cakes, well wrapped, labeled, and suitable for freezing.  One day in June she called me, delirious with happiness.  She was cleaning out the freezer and had found one she’d overlooked.  She planned on digging in after everyone had gone to bed so she didn’t have to share.Do something crafty: Do you knit or crochet?  Are you a woodworker?  Sculpt barnyard animals out of chewing gum you find under bus seats?  Make it!

One of my favorite things to make is a personalized mirror.  I buy a plain, flat wooden frame and get a mirror made to fit (your local glass company can cut mirrors to size).  Once I decide on a theme to fit the recipient I get every picture pertaining to that theme I can lay my hands on.  I decoupage them onto the frame.  I give it a coat of shellac, then insert the mirror.

Or maybe, you know…a nice gift certificate.

Words and music: Write them a poem and/or a song.

Everyone’s going a million miles an hour these days.  Nobody’s got a spare second left.  Store-bought things are a dime a dozen.  Storage facilities aren’t a growth industry because we don’t have enough stuff.

So, if you take the time, and make something unique and personal, it’s worth way more than cash.

Because no matter what anybody says, there actually are some things left in this life that money can’t buy.Thanks for your time.

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