Friday, December 26, 2008

Green & Grateful

Not really certain where to begin on this one. We had a truly wonderful Christmas, meager but full of the things that truly matter. One fun thing was trying to find ways to make Christmas a little greener. We made sure our Christmas tree was grown on a local farm. When the kids went to see Santa it was at, as usual, our local library during Ye Olde Salem Christmas. Instead of using gift bags this year we bought cloth sacks from & filled them with goodies. Gifts for pretty much everyone were homemade this year: sourdough bread (with a touch of organic 7 grain cereal & agave nectar), chocolate fudge (organic cocoa!), hot fudge sauce (more organic cocoa), herbal soap (made with herbs from our garden), and vanilla infused sugar (using both organic sugar & vanilla beans). Although I spent most of the 23rd and all of the 24th baking loaf after loaf of bread until I didn't know whether I was coming or going, it was worth it. We also used LED lights on our tree again this year, as well as the star atop it. We have some LED icicle lights for the front of our house, but not enough to cover the entire front. Since we were short on $$ we didn't buy extra lights, and just lit a strand of lights around the door and some candles in the window. We've been blessed with hand-me-down rolls of wrapping paper (some, quite literally, easily 40 years old), so we wrapped gifts with that. After all the festivities were done I spent quite a while neatly folding up tissue paper and gift bags we got for future use. We now have a gift bag FULL of tissue paper, just from this Christmas Day alone! WOW!!! Since we are now running low on gift wrap one goal for next year will be to find wrapping paper made from post-consumer materials.Even though it was a small Christmas this year, it truly was wonderful. The gifts we got and gave each other meant more. Seeing the boys learn what we believe and why we celebrate Christmas, telling them the history of it all, and seeing them believe in the magic of it all was ... well, words can't accurately describe.We did have a surprise while out today. We had hoped to find something to help with a storage issue at a local consignment shop. We weren't so lucky ~ the one item we had our eye on was already sold. We left feeling a little blue, but going over the things that are truly important to us. We decided to stop by a local hoity-toity home furnishing store to put things in perspective. It did. Things were ridiculously over-priced, and it made us feel reassured in our decisions. But, as we were walking around we spotted some bunk beds, something we want to get the boys in the future. I was checking out one set, getting ready to snort at the price tag. I turned it over, and snort I did. It was regularly priced at $750 but was marked down to $168!! We called the clerk to verify the price, he said there was no way it could be possible and called someone else. They looked it all over and still couldn't believe it to be true and called the head honcho on duty. She looked it over and said "yup, it's a blow-out!" We decided to take advantage of the opportunity and buy it. When we were checking out I actually almost asked who to make the check out to and I had to double check the date. I was completely in a daze. We had been on our way to a beer tasting when we stopped in the store to kill some time, and as we drove there I was still in a daze. All through the tasting I felt weak, as if I might just topple over. This feeling didn't go away for nearly an hour!! I rarely buy new things, not like that anyway. Sometimes you have to be grateful for the things that you can find when you're just trying to kill time and re-adjust your perspective on life. True, it isn't made of sustainably harvested wood or by local craftsmen, but it is something I will feel proud to have my children sleep on none-the-less.

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