The Days Between
Knox County — We now exist in the days between—the 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. When we were kids they were the most anxiety ridden days of our existence during the year. We were kept very busy so we did not think of that glorious morning when we came downstairs to see a present-laden tree before us. The anticipation of that one yearly moment in our lives was almost unbearable.
These 26 days are full of activities and of rushing around to make everything perfect for our families for that one day that lies on the other end of the spectrum. Remember the Christmas art classes in school, the school Christmas program when we all memorized one line of a poem to speak in succession while on stage? We might also have some lines to memorize for our church programs.
Besides these activities there was any number of community events and club events to go to. From the lighting of the town tree to concerts at the Farnsworth to performances by the choral groups in the area to swapping small gifts at our local service club to attending our church Christmas fairs. On top of all that, the Christmas menu had to be thought about as well as fitting in time to do some actual Christmas shopping.
As if you don’t have enough to think about in these 26 days, oops 22 as of today, I have some more things for you to think about. I have my Facebook friends to thank for some of these ideas as well as some of my favorite Facebook (FB) pages that interest me.
The picture at the top of this story is a picture of the lobster tree lighting for this year. Several of my FB friends shared the image with me including my friend and classmate, Louise Flint. Someday I hope to see that process and lighting for myself.
For Christmas ideas with a coastal Maine flair I offer the great FB page “Lobstering Is An Art.” Check it out. There are some great ideas there.
I also downloaded some suggestions for making your Christmas tree and your cat safe and happy this season. The FB page “And my Cat” has a list of precautions to take so that you avoid a Christmas tree disaster. Look for the separate blog story which accompanies this one.
If you don’t want to use a bunch of your Christmas money buying decorations for your house, here are some suggestions.
- Get the kids involved. Buy a pack of red and green construction paper. Hand them a pair of kid-friendly scissors and some glue. Let them use their imaginations to produce some Christmas pictures to hang. I suggest that there is any number of coastal Maine decorations found in nature which would make great decorations. For example: any number of native grasses; pussy willows or cat ‘n nine tails if you have some; dried flowers you may have saved from the summer; shells; beach glass; small pieces of driftwood; favorite small rocks the kids may have saved. Besides pictures they should be able to fashion some Christmas ornaments too. If you can spare the money for some glitter glue so much the better.
- Any good sized branch with many extensions can be spray painted to make a special decoration. In fact, anything in nature can be sprayed gold or silver and make a great decoration. Add ornaments to the branch and hang it on the wall and you’ll look like a famous interior decorator.
- Find a nice glass bowl or flower vase that has been just sitting around, clean it up and fill it with a bunch of lemons or limes or other colorful fruit. Fruit always adds nice color to a room. You can even use the lemons and limes for your drinks later.
Those are just three ideas you can use with a minimum amount of time spent in your busy schedule. I’m sure you can think of many more.
I strongly suggest that after you have grabbed up all the bargains to be had in the big box stores that you take a stroll down Main Street. Your local merchants depend on you as much as the big stores do, maybe more. Keep your economy going by buying local. Of course, hee hee, I suggest also that you stop by Hello Hello Books or The Reading Corner and pick up a signed copy of my book, The South End.
You might also think of those unusual things like a day at the spa for your mother; tickets to a special game or event in your area, even season tickets if you can swing them; any tickets are a winner, like concerts, plays, etc.
Think also of local trips you might buy for your out-of-town summer visitors so they will have something to do when they come to visit next summer. Look into a daily or three-day cruise on one of our Windjammers or local excursion boats. There is also a Lighthouse Tour in Rockland you might look into. The best part of this gift is that you don’t have to wrap it up and then spend more time in line to send it at the mailbox store or the post office. See, I’m saving you time all over the place!
Photography as a Gift
If you are like me, I really enjoy looking at a beautiful picture of Maine whether it’s a coastal scene or country scene. When I have my own house again I plan to fill the walls with such pictures. I suggest the photographers below, some of whom are local. You can purchase a print of their work as well as in the form of a canvas in some cases. Be sure to check their shipping schedules when you go to their sights so you will get them in time for Christmas:
Tim Sullivan: http://tim-sullivan,fineartamerica.com
Rebecca Brann: http://becca-brann.fineartamerica.com/
Paul Cyr: http://www.paulcyrphotography.com/ Check the “contact Paul” to see how you can purchase his work.
Christopher M. George Photography: http://www.facebook.com/CMGFoto
If there is a history buff on your list, check out the Rockland History page on Facebook for available prints.
A Good Laugh
If you want a good laugh to relieve the stress of a busy day, check out the video my friend Laurel Butler Pierce posted yesterday from YouTube: “12 Days of Christmas” by The Bitchy Waiter. I believe Laurel is a waitress when she’s not skating with the Rock Coast Rollers. The video is hilarious and certainly brought me a chuckle or two.
Random Act of Kindness
Finally I think that Christmas is the perfect time for a random act of kindness towards someone who may not be as fortunate this Christmas. I’m thinking especially of an older person who lives alone; maybe a widow or widower; whose family is not close by and who may feel lonely at times.
Try to do something special for this person, preferably anonymous. There is an ad on TV right now where a young couple in an apartment building sneaks into an elderly woman’s apartment and totally decorates her place with a tree and lights and the whole thing. While you may not be able to do all that, even a small decorated tree left at their doorstep would certainly lighten their day and bring the Spirit of Christmas into his or her life.
You can find small artificial trees with LED lights and already decorated for a reasonable price. Think about it. Be creative. I promise you it will brighten your day too.
I hope I’ve lightened your load a little making these days in between a little less stressful. Happy shopping. Deep breath…deep breath.
Thanks for listening.