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by Sharon Bouchard

I’m making my list and checking it twice and getting more depressed by the minute!

When my grandsons were little (back in those pre-retirement days), I could buy five great toys for the price of one video game that’s on one of the boys’ wish lists now.

A smart person who is now on a fixed income would have planned throughout the year, buying gifts frequently, well knowing that Christmas comes the same time every year. No one has ever accused me of being smart.

However, I have decided to smarten up to accommodate my sorry budget and the rapidly approaching holiday. It doesn’t matter that in years past I always overdid it in the gift department. That was then and this is now, and now is the time to think about a good old-fashioned Christmas.

So, I’ve been thinking back to the Christmases of my childhood, when my parents certainly could not have been considered well off. In fact, there were years when the wolf was at the door, and yet every Christmas was truly special.

Homemade gifts were the norm under our Christmas tree. My mother did the best she could, and other relatives made some very nice things. I even took some old 78 rpm records and put them on coffee cans (they were not plastic back then) and put them in the oven. I would let them just start to melt down around the side of the coffee can then take them out and put them in cold water. The sides of the records would be wavy and make perfect candy dishes or fruit bowls. I even decorated them with paint and glitter.

My mother and aunts thought they were beautiful. My brothers, on the other hand, really didn’t appreciate my artistic talent, but what would one expect from boys!

My aunt knitted the most beautiful sweaters and mittens, and they were super presents, but it’s out of the question for me to repeat that tradition. I can knit and purl from here to Lewiston, but I’m not very good at turning corners. So, I won’t be making any knit gifts for Christmas.

I did do a cross stitch table cloth once, and it actually came out looking pretty good if you didn’t look at all the knots on the underside. I know my daughter would love that for her dining room table, but considering that it took me six months to complete the one I made, I think it’s a bit too late to consider for this year.

One thing I can do is bake with the best of them. That’s the ticket…banana bread, orange cranberry bread, truffles, mini chocolate covered cheese cakes, cookies…the list is endless. I will stay away from making any fudge, because sometimes my fudge has to be eaten with a spoon, and I don’t think that will wrap very well.

So there will be a lot of home baked goodies under my tree this year. That will help my ailing budget, but to make sure everything will be fresh, I guess I’ll be spending the two days before Christmas in my kitchen. Oh Lord, give me strength!

Next year I’m finally going to be smart and buy a gift every couple of weeks, and by this time next year I should be all set without breaking the bank. And, the way I see it, if I should fail at that, I can always hunt up some old 78 rpm records and make a whole bunch of candy dishes.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

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