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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Finding Christmas joy

© Another Day in the Country

It’s dark and chilly outside; but I’m sitting on the front porch swing enjoying the warm glow of the multi-colored Christmas lights that go across the length of my front porch.

So far, there aren’t many lights up in Ramona. I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s because folks are depressed in town, possibly having caught their low mood from my chickens who’ve also been suffering from despondency.

The town is quiet. No dogs barking. That’s nice. One lone car drives by, slowly.

Jess has her Christmas lights glowing. I can see them across the street and down the block. They arch along her front porch and make her house look like a little castle from this vantage point. Little bungalows can seem like fairy-tale kingdoms in the dark.

There’s something so magical about Christmas lights on a cold Kansas night. They just warm your heart and make you smile.

Little by little, I’ve been putting up Christmas decorations inside my home. It’s been a slow process, waiting for inspiration to strike!

The tree in the front window was easy — all I had to do is plug it in! The lights were all in place still from last year. All I had to do was vacuum afterward because it’s an old tree and shedding its needles.

The tree in the dining room took more time. Last year’s lights were shot, so I strung new ones.

It’s one of those skinny trees for small spaces and it looks like it’s been crammed into a corner one too many times; but it’ll do!

Then I had to decide which decorations to use. I chose a peppermint candy cane theme with red and white ornaments.

Back in the day, when we had the bed and breakfast in town, we used to decorate so many Christmas trees — not just inside but outside too.

“Where did we get the energy,” my sister asks as we sift through boxes of old ornaments.

Kristina texted me that parents were putting together a “Christmas Store” for the children in the lower grades to go “shopping” for presents.

“Do you have things that you’ve been given and didn’t use or ‘gently used’ items?” she wanted to know.

Thinking about what children would enjoy giving to their family members, I went from room to room in my house, drawer after drawer, checking the shelves in the closet, opening jewelry boxes, perusing bookshelves.

I’m an artist so I have little artistic doodads everywhere. Surely, there are things in abundance that I don’t need or have never used.

Actually, I really got into this search for giftables. It became an adventure.

I ran into things I didn’t know I had. I found things I’d forgotten about. I discovered items I didn’t need, little gifts I could share.

It was exciting! I started stacking my finds on an overstuffed chair in the living room, imagining some child choosing them to give to Mom or Dad, a brother or sister.

I found delightful children’s books, including an extra, brand new copy of my favorite Christmas story called “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” I found lotions and potions I’d been given and never used.  There were bars of fancy soap and various bath scrubs.

What I call “jewelry” is really junk jewelry. I’ve never owned anything expensive.

It’s just the kind of stuff that is fun to wear, conversations starters. I had a hey-day in the jewelry box ferreting out rings and things!

“What about CDs,” I wondered as I went through the office.

“Ocean Waves” sounded like a fun offering.

The game drawer gave up a brand new pack of cards and an Old Maid game.

My stack of possible gifts was growing larger. With every find, I’m imagining the child who might want to buy this for a present.

I found extra Christmas stockings, and even a stocking holder, regular socks and peppermint foot soak.

In the china cupboard, I found a brand new set of coffee cups that I’d purchased once for a prize for something or other and never used.

“I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun,” I texted Kristina. “Thank you for asking me to help with this!”

Returning to my task, I surveyed the kitchen. Surely, there had to be something that I could give away! My eyes roamed the shelves.

It was just another day in the country, when what to my wondering eyes should appear: that too big waffle iron.

“Don’t you dare,” said my sister. “That’s too heavy for a child to even carry.”

Last modified Dec. 12, 2019

 

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