Krissie: Advent

No, I’m probably not going to church today, even though I’d love to. I really want to get these revisions typed in and the book off.
But the Krissie Show went great and I was totally comfortable with it, not frantic and resentful.
And while I’m certain a small part of the 90 plus women found me obnoxious, with the majority of them I made them laugh and smile and groan at the puns, and then got everyone singing Christmas carols by bellowing them at the top of my soprano. So in fact I did good things for others in the name of sisterhood and the holidays, and that’s a Good Thing.
Even if I fell apart later.
I’m saving the depression/losing my religion discussion for later, because I have to work, and because nobody reads on Sunday (or not very many) and it was a really really great discussion. Maybe we’ll all talk about it, on Tuesday (because tomrrow is All About You). So that’s your assignment. Reread the comments from Losing my Religion, add some more if you want, and on Tuesday We’ll Talk.
But since I was worthless after the performance (wept, napped, didn’t eat, went back to bed) I need to get a move on these revisions so I can have fun with Christmas, because I dearly love Christmas, and there’s got to be a way to have a good time without the presents part.
Problem is, I looove giving presents.
Ah, well. I’ll figure it out.
And maybe I’ll even be able to sneak an hour off for church.

41 thoughts on “Krissie: Advent

  1. I know that creative you will totally get with Christmas. Imagine yourself having a love and joy-filled celebration without the things. If you could do it on Christmas, doing it during the rest of the year would be a breeze.

    I’s sorry that you fell apart, but I hoep that it was cleansing. I had a crying jag on Thursday which was a bit of a purge. This was followed by a difficult Friday that turned into a hilarious Saturday when a friend related that other people were gossiping about my rattletrap of a car. (Rattletrap is my word, not theirs.) I laughed and laughed. Truly, more fool them.

    • oneoftheotherjennifers says:

      Sure Thing, I also have a rattletrap of a car. When some neighbors moved in down the street they came by and said, “Wow, that’s been around awhile!”

      That was seven years ago. 🙂

      Mine still runs, has never had a mechanical problem, and has only been in the shop for routine maintenance three times in fourteen years. They’re on their third car, and all of them seem to be in the shop more than out.

  2. oneoftheotherjennifers says:

    Gift giving is my favorite part of the holidays, but a few years back I resolved not to raise my daughter to participate in the spending frenzy that goes with the season. Holidays are to bring happiness to people, not to corporations (sorry, I know my liberal slip is showing). I’m not saying we don’t spend money and buy gifts, because we do, but I try not to focus exclusively on the purchased gifts. Here are a few things I’m giving this year:

    -a website (the free kind). My daughter is a budding artist, and I’m setting up a website for her to display all her artwork. OK, I’m swamped right now, but I’m giving a certificate to set up a website for her in January.

    -Earrings, lots of earrings. Gold-plated stainless steel hooks, 50 for $8. Lots of designs: Snowmen earrings made from Sculpey, cloth soaked in glue then sculpted into flowers, nice garnet beads I’ve had forever, etc.

    -Garden pruners, an extra pair I had, cleaned up and painted with roses.

    -tennis shoes, the cheap white ones ($5), entirely covered in fantasy scenes drawn in Sharpie.

    -A madeleine pan, with a plastic bag filled with the dry ingredients pre-mixed and tied with a pretty ribbon, and a hand-written recipe on fancy paper. LOTS of cool pans of different types to be found at the Salvation Army, and slightly antique-y one is better for this, anyway.

    -Old books I’m willing to let go of, sorted by theme, and chosen for individuals. Ex: my MIL loves gardening, so she’s getting a stack of three books, two romances one general fiction, about gardening. I’m tying them with ribbon in a stack, and enclosing a note about how her garden makes her home such a welcoming and lovely space and recalling some of my happy memories visiting her there.

    You’re more creative than I am Krissie, so I’m sure you can come up with even better ideas if you let go the thought that money is required for a good gift. It’s not.

    • oneoftheotherjennifers says:

      Oh, forgot! For kids, the best gift ever is a craft kit, the kind you put together just for them, but that they can do by themselves at home (with a little help from mom). Bet you’ve got tons of supplies you could pull together to make up something for Alex.

    • oneoftheotherjennifers says:

      One more! My mother, in the nursing home, wanted to give gifts to all her friends but is on a limited budget (that would be my budget). I took her to the Salvation Army on half-price day, where we bought ten red turtlenecks (all name brand) and ten obnoxious Christmas pins. She’ll pin a broach to each sweater, fold and gift! Ten gifts, $25. I have PILES of old gift bags I’ll pass along to her, so she won’t have to struggle with wrapping.

    • Kelly S says:

      “Holidays are to bring happiness to people, not to corporations (sorry, I know my liberal slip is showing).”

      My conservative Christian perspective agrees with you whole-heartedly. The merchandizing of Christmas often gets my knickers in a twist.

      • oneoftheotherjennifers says:

        Which is why some of my very best friends are conservative Christians. Nice people from across the political spectrum always have more in common than not.

  3. Lois says:

    Last year my girls were all broke and decided to do only homemade christmas gifts. It was wonderful. I think the one I use the most is the quilted envelope for my kindle. I also got a box with 52 envelopes (1 for each week) containing a note about a favorite memory or thing from one daughter. The homemade GF Irish cream was a huge hit. Vanilla extract, hats, …..

  4. AuntieJB says:

    You could kill two birds with one stone by finding nice things – or even silly things from your overwhelming stash of stuff to give as gifts with a creative little story (this is “write” up your alley) as to why you are giving the gift. Ooohhh… I just realized that I would LOVE a gift like this from a writer.

    • Actually I did lots of shopping in Jenny’s donate pile. A book on Fillmore art for my son fabulous shoes my daughter, a couple of things for my BFF, even a Hawaiian dress for Erin. Oh, and a fabulous shadow box thing for Alex which I couldn’t resist and gave to him right away, and he adored it!
      Yes, I’ll definitely shop at home, literally.

  5. I’m also faced with a no gift-giving Christmas this year. My kid dropped his computer, smashing the screen, on Thursday, and he has to have a computer for school. I had the worst panic attack I’ve had in years while in CostCo looking at replacements and realizing how badly this messed up my careful budget. But when I was thinking about the people that I absolutely couldn’t just not give presents to, ie my nine-year-old niece, I realized that the best gifts might be ones I already had. For example, I’ve got two beautiful wooden boxes that she loves to look at and touch when she comes over. I think she’d probably be thrilled to get one of them, much more so than a $25 game for her Nintendo. So I’m going to be looking for ways to give gifts without spending money. I think it can be done and might even be fun.

    Side note on panic attacks: the worst thing about irrational fear taking over my body is the little voice in the back of my head saying, “but maybe it’s not irrational. Maybe something dangerous is nearby. Maybe this is a premonition. Maybe you’re right to be scared.” I really hate that voice. It’s worse than an unwieldy conscience.

    • AuntieJB says:

      For my 7 and 9 year old nieces I do “experiential gifts”, i.e., spending a day at the zoo together. Yesterday I took my BFF’s kids into downtown Chicago on the train – they’d never been on a train before – and for $7 each round trip we got to see all the cool Christmas decorations in the city.

      I agree that the self-talk is the worst thing about panick attacks, anxiety and depression.

    • I go back to my favorite fear quote whenever I am hit with a panic attack. Fear is really only False Expectations Appearing Real.

      Of course fear in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad and can be a survival mechanism, but the problem for most of us these days is that fear overwhelms us and the what if game begins.

      Until then you can always use the fear quote or the one that my great aunt, a Christian Science Practitioner, taught us all. “There is no spot where God is not.” I also start visualizing the hand of God reaching down and carrying me through whatever has set me off and finally, I stop and breathe deeply. I am always amazed at how shallow my breath gets during those attacks. The breathing thing gets me out of the head space of fear.

  6. Kieran says:

    One great present is giving someone a list of “40 Things I Love About You” or whatever number you’d like to use. I do it for birthdays but you can use it for Christmas. Everyone I’ve done this for says they keep it and look at it every once in a while. They say that it’s one of the nicest presents they’ve ever received. Reading it out loud to them is nice, too. Better to say these things while people are alive than wait until they’re dead. And it’s fun to do!!!

  7. Gail says:

    Have you run across the concept of the White Elephant gift exchange? You still get to give/get presents but the point is to unload something that’s already laying around. My friend calls hers the Wacky, Tacky, or Wonderful gift exchange.

  8. Glad you had a good time yesterday, you needed that. I’m not big on holiday giving but there are some great ideas here.
    I’m not a baker, so I especially love when someone brings me a date and walnut loaf wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow. Or home made sugar cookies, or peanut brittle, or fudge…all the things I shouldn’t eat, but hey, it’s the holidays.

  9. See everyone beat me to it. How wonderful that you can use the holiday to go through your stuff and give some of it away to people you love.

    We shall all meet on Tuesday. “Never fear Underdog is here.” Don’t know why, but the quote popped into my head and I thought I should share it. You know in some ways that little dog is pretty inspiring. Here’s a link for people who don’t remember or never watched Underdog. I totally prefer the cartoon version. Of course I’ve always had a thing for beagles too.

  10. It took me years to train my mom and grandma into not giving me a ton of little gifts. Just one or two or three were good. Homemade was good. Secondhand was even good as long as it wasn’t another dustable that I would sell at a yard sale because I was cutting back on dustables. I much preferred receiving cookies and pumpkin bread and crocheted dish clothes and things like that. And as a child, a big box of crayons or colored pencils or markers and a drawing pad would make me happy for months. Hell, it makes me happy today!

    Christmas doesn’t have to be a billion gifts under the tree (as I had to reiterate to my mom and grandma). Christmas is spending time together. If there are decorations and pretty lights, that’s the frosting on the cupcake!

    • And I am spending Christmas in Seattle with my friends again because we all enjoyed last year so much. I don’t bring gifts because the travel is all I can afford. And I asked them to not give me gifts since I cannot give them gifts and I don’t need anything. So it’s all about spending time together. (Not that I wouldn’t enjoy gifts, but it would make me feel bad not being able to reciprocate.)

  11. Eileen A-W says:

    Sounds like the Krissie show took it’s toll on you yesterday. Please find time to take care of yourself.

    I read something on facebook about giving the HAND for the holidays. Hand made, hand me down and ?????. Forgot the third. So instead of spending money on new items, make them. However, if you don’t have the energy due to the depression that could be a problem. But do think about it.

    • Redwood Kim says:

      secondhand, helping hand (donate/volunteer,) and hand-in-hand (spending time together.
      It’s a nice idea. My family is the nutso over gifts (it eclipses all other love languages.) We’ve tried the gift exchange thing – people cheated. We tried limiting the amount – people cheated. Worse, they felt cheated – not from the gifts they received, but of the joy they felt buying things. So we gave up, and we get everyone something. But I do it to fit my budget, and give from my heart, because that’s all I can control.

  12. Sharon says:

    All my brothers and sisters are getting home-made jam and assorted cookies. The children are getting books-I went thru my library and pulled books that I thought they would like. The children also get a card that gives them a day to spend with me doing something they like to do. I decided to cut way back on giving and getting things at Christmas-I do not want more things that pile up, need to be cared for or dusted.

    Maybe your friends would like something from your book shelves or fabric hoard, Krissie. I’m sure you have “reasures” other family members would enjoy.

  13. Well, there’s also stuff from your Mom you are thinking of going through. Perhaps there are some things there that might make meaningful gifts?

    Also, love the quilt.

  14. stephanie says:

    I’m sorry that it was such a difficult day. Hopefully today will feel better and you will be as productive as you need.

  15. C.G. Morrison says:

    I agree with the ideas above. Another couple of suggestions: Vitamin D3 if you are not already taking it, and a light box or full spectrum light bulbs. It’s dark out there, and that can make you feel even more depressed. Been there, done that.

  16. Micki says:

    Couple more gift ideas (this is so much fun! I’m getting some good ideas here!).

    Steal Kwanzaa, buy cheap gifts and celebrate on the 26th (or Epiphany would be good, too). Kwanzaa has a strong focus on the community aspects of a winter holiday that I love and I think everyone should celebrate.

    My sister gave me one of those “baked goods in a jar” Christmases one year. I still use the recipe for the English muffin loaf . . . really, one of the best gifts ever. And it’s all in her hand. (Another best gift — this huge cast iron frying pan. Her post office must hate her (-:.)

    Picture mugs or picture totes . . . I don’t know the logistics of the DIY iron-on pictures (where you print out your own pic and transfer it to fabric), but I know a lot of businesses here who will put your pic on a cup or a tote. A kind business might even put it onto your own quilt block for you. Not *too* late for making totebags, is it?

    (-: I hope the ideas keep coming! What’s a good economic gift for the men in the family?

    • Kieran says:

      Micki, your sister sounds wonderful!! Would you mind sharing with me that recipe for the English muffin loaf, please? I’d love it!

      Toast is one of my favorite things, and I love how English muffins absorb so much butter….


  17. Kim says:

    I love this, so many great ideas.

    I make gifts for people every year. It started the first year my husband and I were married because we were barely scraping by. Now, it’s become a tradition, I enjoy it, my family and friends enjoy the gifts.

    The last few years my daughter has started making presents too. Last year she knitted hats and scarves for people on her nifty knitter loom. She is eleven this year and is going to make little stuffed owls out of fabric scraps. We found a number of patterns online and she just picked the one that she liked the best.

    This year I am making a few holiday banners our of card stock and scrapbook paper. I am making a few different ones to give as presents, Peace on Earth, Let it Snow, Believe and Noel.

    I am making the banners with paper that I already have and the owls will be made with scraps that I have from different sewing projects.

    I am sure if you look around at some of the stuff that you already have you can craft it into something special. I made appliqued pillows for everyone that first year. Maybe you could make quilted place mats or something else with your quilting scraps. You could look at what you have and then look it up on Google. I found a lot of ‘fat quarter projects’ over the summer that way.

    I know you will find a way that will be wonderful.

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