To my mom’s great sorrow, I’m not a big fan of the whole Christmas thing. For one, I’m possibly the one female on this planet who hates shopping, especially in December, when our fellow man goes all frenzied and glassy-eyed and stores insist on broadcasting looped recordings of “Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer.” I hate that song.
My mom, however, is an accomplished discount shopper and also a committed craft maven–two skills essential to a full enjoyment of the Retail Season. She loves making gifts–some of them are quick-turn items (e.g. adorable reindeer magnets) that she can produce in the thousands; others, like her amazing stained glass windows and lamps, will one day become heirlooms. I recommend you get yourself added to her gift list.
If I did inherit a shopping gene from Mom, it’ll probably never be expressed. But a few years ago, I found myself spiraling into a monthlong bender that could only mean one thing: a hereditary craft addiction. For four terrible weeks, the word “scrapbook” became a verb for me, as in, “I’d love to have a drink with you, but I’ve got to get home and _____.” I became enraged when writing deadlines or phone calls or the need to urinate encroahched on my scrapbooking time.
The story has a happy ending. I’m in recovery, my mom loves to page through the lovely scrapbook (now safely a noun again) depicting our years of gardening together, and my extra scrapbook supplies (here an attributive noun acting as a modifier) are safely packed and stowed. (Whattaya mean why haven’t I thrown them away? Shut up! I’m totally fine!)
This year, with my bank account in a state that has effectively converted stores into de facto museum exhibits, I’ve declared (in typical self-serving fashion) a No Retail Christmas to all my relatives; we’ve committed instead to give only gifts we make ourselves. The particular genius of this declaration is that my female relatives all have mad skills in the artistic fields, so I win. Unfortunately, I’m thinking they don’t particularly want any more scrapbooks.
Mom to the rescue: somehow, that long-suffering woman has managed to teach me to thread and operate a sewing machine at a very basic level–akin to, say, the way a lower primate might learn to use a Swiss Army knife to bludgeon open a papaya.
The results defy belief:
Yes! I “made” these purses, much in the way I “drove” the car from my dad’s lap when I was eight! But I have faith that someday, I will be able to make one of these all by myself.
Then again, what fun would that be?
All of a sudden, Christmas seems almost cool again. Thanks, Mom.