The yard is abundant on these early December days, at least here in the Deep South. Oddly, even with the shorter days, my hens are still laying at their summer pace and the recent rains have caused my kale and cabbage to flourish and of course, like everyone else here, the orange trees are laden.
I may have told this story before about my mother as a child during the Depression living in Ville Platte on Beech Street waiting for Christmas morning to find fresh citrus in stockings “hung by the fire”. It seemed such a curious little tale when I was young and she told it to me. But now, I understand it. I understand the resourcefulness in life then as opposed to the surreal waste in it now. Oranges were ripe in December and much needed to prevent colds and flu; what better gift than a gift from the Earth?
With that thought, I continue…How better to decorate your house than with the pine cones laying on the ground this December or snippets of holly and Pyracantha or Nandina? And there is bare honeysuckle vines in the woods for wreaths and pine branches low enough to snap and bring inside for fragrance. Camellias are beginning to bloom here and Narcisse bulbs are ready for forcing…this natural list goes on and on and there is no waste and no plastic to recycle. And don’t forget the best holiday display of all, the kitchen, filled with the smell of baked cookies and cinnamon and mugs of fresh coffee waiting for a minute of quiet time amongst the folly that Christmas can cause.
I am prompted to write this in hopes that it may inspire just a few to leave a bit of the “made in china” on the shelves of corporate stores and find the real gifts of the season right outside your door. And for those purchased gifts we share, each small town is filled with art galleries and crafters and local wares that become unique gifts for friends and family…check out Main Street before you go to the mall – it will make you feel good to shop small and local. Another Momism from my mother this time of year was, “If I can’t find it at Abdallas, I am not buying it.” I love living in that confine of finding gifts within the perimeters of our town – how simple is that?
Anyway, this is my Christmas “message” or perhaps “rant”. Nothing is as it was before and the world has changed since my mother’s long ago childhood – changed in many good ways – but there are still methods and reasoning from the times when people lived closer to the Earth and hovered around their small communities as they supported and cared for one another.
We can continue, tweaked perhaps, by keeping some things “real” for Christmas.