Tag Archives: china

THINK Before Buying Holiday Gifts

Okay, I know Black Friday is upon us.  I know some of you are getting up very early or staying up very late to get the best bargain on the latest toy, game, boots, fill in the blank.

But before you dig your credit card hole a bit deeper, before you create a huge pile of “stuff” that will be opened with glee and tossed aside without a second thought, I am asking you to think.

That’s right, think.  Drop the pen.  Put down the list.  Stop perusing flyers and catalogues or crawling web sites and take 5 minutes and ask yourself just one question?

What gift did you get 20, 30 or 40 years ago that makes you smile, right now?

Was it the most expensive?  The biggest?  The latest?  I will bet you it wasn’t.

Over the years, I have been given many big, expensive gifts – jewelry, exotic vacations, works of art.  Nice gifts but not my favorite gift, the one I am smiling about right now.  For me, that gift was a used rocking chair.

A big Christmas gift without a big price tag.

My favorite Christmas gift is this rocker restored by my husband.

My husband found it on the side of the road, put out for trash pick up. Carefully, lovingly, he restored the oak to its full glory.  Removing the shredded fabric and compressed batting from the coiled springs, he rebuilt and recovered the seat with warm, rich velvet.

This oak chair sits, today, in my sewing room.   I see it every day.  I sit in it, often, when I am doing finishing work on clothing or a craft project.

The total cost for this wonderful gift could not have been more than $10 but I remember crying when I saw it by our tree.  Do you remember getting a gift like that?   Not made in China or Taiwan?  No batteries required?  Not mass-produced? Lovingly made by someone you know, just for you? Those are the gifts you remember, you cherish.

If I go back even further for favorite holiday memories to when we were kids, the highlight of our Christmas morning was finding a big juicy orange in the toe of our stocking.  Sounds ridiculous but there it was – five kids racing for the mantle (yes, a real fireplace mantle) pulling down stockings and pulling out the candy cane and walnuts, to get to the bottom, to get to the orange.

Why would an orange be such a big deal?  Oranges weren’t available in December in the North.  No one was trucking them up from Florida or across the country from California.  Back then, an orange was a rarity – a real treat.   Definitely not a big ticket item but a childhood moment I treasure, a wonderful memory of holidays gone by.

Want to have happy holidays filled with warm memories?

Don’t spend too much money on too many things that no one will need or treasure even two weeks after the holiday has come and gone.  Think…and get gifts that really speak to the young, the old and the in-between people you love.  This year, build some holiday memories yourself, memories that will make you smile, 30 years from now.

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Filed under Home Ec on Acid, Life & Death, Love and Marriage, Saving Money

Does Your Silverware Talk?

Open your silverware drawer.

Go ahead, open it.  Is your silverware telling tales about you?

Okay, before you think I finally fell and hit my head….I just have to say that what people buy and use for silverware speaks volumes about them.  It also tells a tale to anyone who opens the drawer and really listens.

We have two silverware drawers.  That should tell you something right away but here’s a little hint.

In one drawer, all the silverware matches!  Knives, forks, soup spoons, salad forks and teaspoons.  All have the same pattern and there are 12 of each.  Each piece is nested in its respective slice of the silverware tray.  All handles at the bottom; all working bits at the top.  This is my husband’s drawer.

In the other drawer, very little matches.  There are 3 sterling silver knives, 3 matching sterling silver forks (dubbed clubs by the owner of the other drawer), one sterling silver fork from the Hotel Dupont (don’t ask) and about 15 other, mismatched forks tumbling across the tray.

The teaspoons are even more fun.  There are bigger, rounder ones, smaller, sugar spoons, and a spoon I found in a parking lot, all mixed in with one that looks like a shovel and one that weighs so much you’re tired by the time you’re done drinking your tea.  My drawer.

So, what does each drawer tell you about its respective owner?

One of us (the same one who insisted we buy a full set of bone china and sterling silver) likes the world to be ordered and organized.  The “pattern” found in the silverware draw repeats itself in the owner’s closet – shirts in one row, pants in another, ties on a hanging tie rack and belts on a rack attached to the back wall of the closet.  His world has to conform to certain rules and principles.  Change has to be broached carefully, discussed quietly, discussed with butter knives at 20 paces then discussed one more time before a decision can be made.

The other person, the one with the eclectic silverware and “favorite” spoons likes a bit of excitement in her life.  I actually like chaos – it makes me feel creative.  This woman of the wacky silverware drawer likes noise, revels in movement and surrounds herself with music including the songs of nature.  Change is what happens just seconds after an idea – smart or stupid – pops into my head.

Sometimes I go to the kitchen, slide open both drawers and smile about the story our silverware tells.  Me and my drawer make it possible for my husband to make a change.  My husband and his drawer make sure that the my body, our house and the world where we live are safe for us to share.

No matter whose silverware we are wielding, together, we’re unstoppable.

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