Sometimes the mama-razzi gets the best of me. This was one of those times.
Like most people there are many little things that please me about holiday gift giving. I love thoughtful gifts, well planned gifts, creative gifts, charitable gifts, handmade gifts. However, over the past few years my cousins have given me something I have come to enjoy above all other little presents. Homemade jam and jelly. Each year they tuck a jar into their other present as almost an after thought and each year I spend the following week gobbling up toast and english muffins spread with their utterly delicious jelly. I can’t help myself, it is the feature ingredient in every breakfast until the moment it is gone, the last few smears scraped from the jar with a spatula.
Homemade jelly just tastes better. It’s colors are deeper, it’s flavors are richer, so much less of it goes so much further, and it has the ability to turn each item it is spread on into a trip back in time to the March’s breakfast table. Spreading it onto my toast feels like the playacting I used to do as a child and sitting down to eat it feels like a treat, every time.
I wish my cousins would simply pack me a selection from their family jar each year and give me nothing else. While their other gifts are tasteful and appreciated nothing makes me happier than to see that shining jar nestled neatly inside my package, placed there as just a little extra small gift, waiting for breakfast.
Every year we try and remember the positive socially concious ideas behind the holiday season and behave accordingly. We go through all our stuff and donate everything we can in November, we choose several charities to assist or gift to, and we try and focus on spending time with our loved ones instead of money on them. This year we are focusing a little on the ecological side of giving.
To start with we did e-cards this year instead of paper cards. Every year Americans generate some additional one million tons of household waster over the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s day (according to the EPA). That number represents 20 percent of the waste generated by our country each year. I believe doing everything I can do to minimize our part in that is hugely important. Hence the e-card.
We are also making our own wrapping paper out of recycled grocery bags decorated with stickers and stamps, and we are shopping primarily at Amazon which is working with their retailers to minimize the packaging on their products. We also give handmade gifts with no packaging at all and try to recycle any of the packaging we get.
So, with that in mind, Happy Holidays everyone! We wish you a joyous 2009 holiday season and a fantastic 2010!