Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Handmade Christmas

As a farm boy, I never knew I was poor, but I knew I had lots of other things other kids didn't have. I knew I didn't get the toys they had, the nice shoes, pants, and cool Trapper Keeper for school work. I did have my own 20 gauge/ 30-30 switchable barrel, barn and school boots, coat and other necessary items. At the time all those other things like the toys and nice clothes seemed to matter.

Taking you back to the house I lived in Clarksburg PA, it was held together by staples, and had been built a long time ago very quickly and not very well. The windows would be iced up for weeks and sometimes for months during the winter. Every morning my Step Dad Bobby was off early to work, Mom soon followed him, and I was taught to get myself ready and out to the bus stop all by myself at 7 years old.

The year was 1977, it was the same winter as the big snow here in the eastern United States... Prior to moving on the farm the following spring, this was the house where I learned life's first lessons on banking off a coal fire and getting wood in, although it was just a few logs with my Step Dad, it seemed like hard work to me. 

That Christmas I got some presents that were factory made, shinny and new. That was the first year those round plastic disk sleds came out and those huge Styrofoam Airplanes.... I got one of each of those and some clothes. Materialism has been around a long time, and for kids, at least us, it was all about the numbers, how many gifts we got...

I didn't know this would be one of the best Christmases of my life, a time that I would reflect on for the rest of my life, forever. But that year, I tossed to the side the handmade wooden toys made for me by my Step Dad and Mom. I got a spaceship from the show Space 1999, carved and the landing feet were made from screws. I got a wooden truck, I smashed that thing up after months of rugged 7 y/o abuse, and a corn bag toss game. The bags were made from our old corduroy/blue jean  pants.

Perhaps things are tight and you might be considering making a couple gifts, do it... Don't worry about the shinny and new look. Because you may just be creating the best Christmas of a child's life forever.  It really isn't about the wrappers, it truly is about the love...


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