Black Friday, Americana at its best. Just not in this frugal house. No, I did not hop on-line or dart down to my nearest Target on Thanksgiving Eve. I washed dishes and cuddled on the sofa with my family. When Friday rolled around my husband set off to his office, the kids and I transformed the house for the holidays. Up went the tree (artificial -- I am a Christmas Tree Asthmatic -- real trees grow a mold, too which I am severely allergic -- explaining why ever winter break as a kid I was deathly ill), up went the lights. The mantle adorned with random candles and pine cones collected in years past. By 10am we were done. What to do? Head to the mall? Not a chance.
From the garage I pulled out a bag of lids I had started saving mid-summer. Stashed on the kitchen counter was a bag of supplies, purchased at Wisconsin Craft Mart, just down the road from our house. This year we started a new tradition -- sending handmade ornaments to family who live far away. Since it was the first go-around, I made a few mental notes. Primarily, spray paint the tops in the garage our outside at least a day or two in advance. Wow -- the smell.
Second, coffee lids are ideal -- light weight, circular, and they come with a ready made hole for the string. Tops from jelly jars, pickle jars, or an assortment of goodies from Trader Joes -- just get a hammer and a nail, and tap away. A huge thank you to the clerk at Wisconsin Craft Mart for telling me this when I showed up in the store looking to buy something from which to make a hook. Thanks, and we'll continue to support such a great store!
Decorations? A few were gem stones and mini-presents I picked up at the craft show. But the big winner were 2013 holiday cards that I had kept, from which the kids used their advancing scissor skills to cut out stockings, stars, trees and polar bears. The end result? Re-purposed gifts, from the hearts of tots, and priceless memories of a day in the kitchen with mom.
For those who enjoy the deals and the crowds, I hope your day(s) of shopping were productive and fun. Our world needs all types, and the store owners, employees, and in some case stock holders, are thankful for your patronage. Having worked my way through college and grad school by working retail, those extra hours were welcomed. But now, you could not pay me to go near the mall this time of year. That is what one too many holiday shopping seasons at Hallmark and TJ Maxx can do to a gal.