ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY:   An attitude of gratitude

© Another Day in the Country

“Ok, I give up!” I’m dragging my feet, putting off decisions, and not ready for the holiday season. I found myself hunting for tulip bulbs to plant on Friday while “Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer,” was playing on the intercom in the hardware store. I didn’t want to hear it. Neither did I want to see boxes of gifty-gidge-gadgets for $10 or less clogging the aisles.

Look, folks, the leaves have not fallen off all the trees yet. I think we’re rushing the season! But then, advertisers always want to get the jump on the market. Remember last winter when all the seed catalogs started arriving in the mail? Well, believe it or not, this is November and I got my first spring catalog yesterday that said they’d give me a $25 discount on the seeds for spring if I ordered them before Dec. 12.

It’s not just the seed catalogs. All the magazines are gearing up for the holidays. One suggesting 64 things they’d discovered that everyone would want for Christmas. I took the bait and turned to page 175 to see what they were, only to discover that this stuff was really expensive. This list was not going to help me! It was not in my price range. Who spends $100 on lipstick? Do people really pay $495 for a pair of jeans? This is way over the top!

No one in the publishing business seems to be able to resist giving suggestions for gifting. Even my news magazine has a column for unusual gifts (for the person who has everything) and would you believe that someone had the temerity to picture this cute little handmade, wooden picnic set that fits on the handlebars of your bicycle costing $34,000 (not including the bicycle). Who buys this kind of stuff? If I saw a similar, little wooden box for $34, I’d be thrilled with the bargain; but $134 would seem mighty pricey! “Read that again,” I said to my sister. “Does it really say $34,000?” It did! Was this a joke?

My friend Rita (and her friends) solved the gift-giving dilemma last Christmas by insisting anything given was to be homemade! A delightful idea! Being an artist, she made a one-of-a-kind Monopoly board for the name she drew. I wanted to be included; but sadly I live too far away.

We went shopping the other day to buy a gift for our Aunt Frieda, Mom’s sister, who was having a birthday. We had so much fun looking for possibilities. Luckily, sale racks helped stretch our dollars. I wanted to buy Aunt Frieda something outlandish, just for the fun of it! Jess was lobbying for something practical. We managed to find a little black jacket on sale (our mother, who loved sales, would be so proud) that fit the bill for practicality (black) and outlandish (trimming that sparkled). That’s what gifts should be, in my book: a tad unusual, affordable and fun!

“Start thinking,” my daughter says, “What do you want for Christmas?” I think I’ll make my own list of gifts for cheap. Lipstick for $5 or less, an unusual magazine subscription for less than $20. How about a pedicure ($15)? Socks that are made of cotton. Jess wants metal measuring cups that won’t lose their lettering. Jewelry with magnetic clasps (wonderful invention). Real licorice, usually made in Australia! What about a good book? I love getting book recommendations. It can even be a loaner!

Truth be told, there is really not a thing that I need this holiday season. I’d love for there to be unexpected visits from family. I really like surprises! I always want everyone to be safe and healthy! Mostly, especially this year, I want gratitude to just flood through us all so that we can’t stop smiling for another day in the country.

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