I am a happy woman. I just got back from the fabric store and I’m deep in thought as to what I’ll be making for Christmas. Every year, my poor work friends are besieged and beset and not so besotted with me following them around asking which gift they want to choose from my basket.
When I was younger, I made almost all of my presents. I remember one Christmas when I made my mother, my grandmother, and my three aunts flannel granny gowns. For some reason, they never seemed to wear them when I was around. Another Christmas, I created nativity scenes out of dough made from flour, salt, and water. I sculpted Mary, Joseph and Sweet Baby Jesus in his manger, and even a few sheep to graze around and then gaze upon the little baby. I was really proud of those Tiny Tidbits of Godly Art until my preacher asked why I’d included turtles along with the Holy Family.
I’ve made lots of ornaments, including little fabric baskets with reindeer poking their antlered pom-pom heads out to see the world, knitted wreaths with yarn accessories, surprisingly heavy angels made of tiny flower pots with Christmas balls for the heads and moss for hair, little what-nots made from leftover potpourri that looked like miniature dirt dauber nests, and perhaps my strangest creations ever: tiny hanging pillows with pictures of Paris on them. There were very good reasons for all of the brilliant creations mentioned above, although I can’t think of any of them right now.
Last year, I hit the jackpot when I figured out a way to make festive coaster sets out of fabric and polyfill layering. I even came up with a great tag, which read “Roller Coasters: Putting the Fun Back into Drinking!” If that doesn’t say Let's celebrate the birth of Christ, I don’t know what does.
When one of my gifts turns out to be even more lame than usual, I tend to write a poem to go with it. One year, I gave my colleagues muscadine jelly from grapes I’d gotten free from a friend. Although home-made jelly would normally be a great gift, I managed to screw up the recipe somehow. But, that didn’t stop me. I just added a poem, which, I’m sorry to tell you, I can’t find. But I do remember it ended with something like this:
Since I had no money to splurgil,
I got my grapes from Virgil.
The poem would have been much easier to write if my friend’s name had been Bob or Frank. But, then again, real art is never easy.
Back to this year. Since I’m finally seriously considering retirement, I’m thinking this may be my last year for workplace gift giving. I’m definitely leaning toward ornaments again, this time trees stuffed with chopped balsam I ordered from some place that actually grows balsam trees. Maine, I think.
I hope my latest gifts turn out okay, but if they don’t, I have a poem percolating in my head. I just haven’t yet figured out what rhymes with balsam. Wait a minute. How about this?
My trees are awesome.
They smell like balsam.
As to what I’ll do when I no longer have work friends to entertain and annoy with my baskets of home-made gifts, I’m considering giving to those who may not have access to a lot of Christmas cheer. So, if you see the pimps and pros from the corner hightailing it down Ponce de Leon Avenue in midtown Atlanta some time around the next Yuletide Season, just know that what they're screaming isn't "Cheese it! The cops!" Instead, it will be “Oh no! Here comes Marcia with her Christmas basket!"