Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh no! Here comes Marcia with her Christmas basket.

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!"

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! I love the story, the idea and the enthusiasm and determination you devote to the project. I'm sure the gifts are treasured! Besides being lovingly made, they are distributed with good humor and the spirit of the season. Keep on filling that basket - your enthusiasm is catching.

melissa said...

Ah yes, the Miss Piggy Mary. I sure can't wait for Christmas!

Brighid said...

Great tale of giving in the true spirit of the season. I too try to make most of my gifts so most of the family is used to odd jammies, unusual knitted creations, or jars of unknown jellies... Keep on keeping on...

Celia said...

You crack me up! Many of my ornaments were homemade gifts from family and friends, and are my favorites. I'm sure your gifts are someone's treasure too.

Friko said...

Please Marcia, may I beg you not to put me on your Christmas gift list?
It's not that I wouldn't enjoy one of your home-made presents, it's just that I haven't any more room in my house for knick-knacks.

My victims get only home-made foodstuffs, sweets and jams and marmalades, even a jar of some savoury 'treat'.

The fun is in the making and watching people squirm when they 'gratefully' accept the gift.

Nell Jean said...

Mama used to say, "We need one foolish thing for Christmas," as she crocheted granny square sweaters for the little dogs. One year I made her a burlap dress which she recycled into a shepherd's costume for a grandson.

When I was more enthusiastic, I used to fill coffee mugs with stones and a hyacinth bulb early enough to at least have promise of a blossom by Christmas leading to a fragrant treat for the recipient when the weather was at its worst. If I wanted a grander gift, I put 5 bulbs in a pretty bowl of stones.

Arkansas Patti said...

How interesting it would be to be your co-worker.
Just seeing what your creative mind would come up with would over shadow any iffy recipes.
Hay, pimps and hos need love that isn't paid for also. Think that is a good idea.

marciamayo said...

Nell Jean, I love the idea of one foolish thing at Christmas. I can be that thing for my friends.

marciamayo said...

Melissa, Mary did NOT look like Miss Piggy.

Olga said...

What a riot! The bonnet! It really suits you.

Brandi said...

Marcia, I am cracking up laughing, especially at the part about the Roller Coasters!! I would really like to be included in the gift giving this year, because I can't wait to see what is in your basket! Thanks for the wonderful story.

marciamayo said...

Brandi, you are now on my list!

cile said...

Your story makes me laugh out loud! You must have been a terror as a child! Ha Ha! I have often wondered whatever happened to all the cherry tomato baskets sprayed with gold paint and glitter I made as a child. In hindsight, I must have drove my caretakers batty with my messes making gifts! No. Wait... They were LUCKY! Those gifts were suitable for the Magi!

Nice bonnet, by the way.

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm having trouble posting here Marcia - here goes #3 version of my immortal words :P
We usually make our Xmas gifts but am running out of time on the scarves project this year so if you could send me as many as you can of the turtles, I'd be most grateful.
And judging by the photo, your acolytes cleaned you up real good....
XO
WWW

marciamayo said...

I knew I was ahead for the times with my Christmas turtles.

schmidleysscribblins said...

Oh God Marcia, you have done it again. Struck a nerve that is. I still have my old jelly jars, although I cannot remember now how I got them back.
I made a ceramic nativity scene one year for my mother and she set it up in the fireplace surrounded by greens that slowly dried up over the holidays. The fireplace was part of a double fireplace that warmed back to back rooms. (This was an old antebellum house)

My father, as was his wont, built a roaring fire in the "other" fireplace, and you guessed it, the sparks flew up the chimney and down onto the dried greenery, only to set Baby Jesus and company on fire.

I told my Mom I thought the charcoal broiled look was in that Christmas.

marciamayo said...

Okay, at least I never set baby Jesus on fire.

Jean said...

I laughed all the way through this post. I also felt tremendous guilt for the handmade gifts I've imposed on others, even those I love (the people, not the gifts.) My favorite passage here: “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.

Priceless.

marciamayo said...

Jean, it was your video about knitters giving knitted gifts to people who didn't want them that reminded me that my gift giving has nothing to do with what people want or need.

Freda said...

I used to make gifts long ago, can't think why I no longer seem to have the time. Probably I am idle. So proper gifts go mainly to family nowadays. Other "special" people get a box of chocolates and a card.

Katie S said...

My drink is sitting on one of your Roller Coasters right now. I can't wait to see the gifts this year. I am really going to miss you... sniff sniff!