Right now, this page is as blank as my cupboards are bare of gifts this year. I just read, “Breaking News” from the New York Times, which says that “Spending is down for November which indicates a gloomy forecast for 2012.” Part of me feels guilty for this downturn, for I have not spent a single penny on this Christmas. No, not one.

Well, I did spend $6 on some holly cuttings for a wreath which I fashioned and hung on the front door. Around the edges, I tied five, old, pine cones from a long ago walk with the dog. When a friend assumed that I had purchased it, I was pleased.  But the usual fuss I make shopping, buying, wrapping, hanging lights and decorating the house has not happened.  In fact, I even forgot to pre-order our usual 12-lb turkey.

Months ago, I reminded my teenage daughters that this would be our, “handmade Christmas.” It is a tradition we started some years back which has yielded some of our most treasured possessions: a hand stitched quilt our oldest made for her sister; a hand-sewn bag our youngest made for us; a photo collage which hangs on the mantle from a happy, family time.

But this year feels different and not because it has been a difficult one but because I want it to hold meaning. Granny taught me long ago that you can’t buy that. It is always wrapping itself effortlessly into your heart and head.  So, I have decided that my gift to my family this year will be my happiest memories of time with them. I began writing them some weeks back. The task was harder than I thought it would be, because as you remember the happy times, the sad ones have a way of creeping in, too.

So, as you fill-in-the-blanks of your own Christmas this year, I wish you moments of meaning.  They will fill the pages of your heart with more laughter and tears than you can imagine.  One day, you may just be lucky enough to have the time to write them down . . . or even read them.

P. S.  Just before posting this, I heard the sweetest sound coming from my husband’s office.  He was whistling, “The Christmas Song,” in its’ entirety.  Those lovely notes are filling my heart line by line this very second!  Merry Christmas!

Helen Hudson is the author of, “Kissing Tomatoes,” a memoir of her grandmother’s years of Alzheimer’s.




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