Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas My Little Porkchop

 This Christmas is a first for my farmer husband and I. Instead of the usual mall bought, store found, eBay won, gift that everyone and their brother gets for the Holidays, we are giving our family something entirely different.

Meat. We're giving them meat.

Yes, I hear you, do they even make gift boxes for bacon? Why yes they do, in the form of an envelope; and a gift certificate to the farm they all grew up on. You see, up until last year when I was still working at my off the farm nursing job, we spent a large amount of cashola on Christmas. Like too many other Americans, we tended to spend as much as we made. If one toy was good for the grandchildren then why not four? If one adult son enjoyed model helicopters then by all means get him the largest one with all the accessories, and a years service agreement if the copter blades should come flying off and wing the innocent cat already hiding under the tree.

But this year, the cash flow slowed considerably as we struggled to support ourselves entirely by the income generated by farm sales. So when it came time to start the Christmas shopping ritual I realized that going further into debt for made-in-China-disposables that would not be remembered next year, was no longer appealing. Instead we took a long hard look around at all the richness we already had in place right here on our farm.

With only one aisle, our "Spotted Wattle" is no Super Store
but it serves its purpose well.
Homemade soaps, free range eggs, rolled rump roasts, bacon, and pork sausage patties, to name a few, all right there in our little farm store. A years worth of hard labor ready to be shared with those we loved most. So with the little bit of ink left in my printer and the clean backside of recycled paper, I made up gift certificates for each of our grown children.

But, I must admit, it felt a little wrong, as if I was cheating somehow. Isn't that truly ridiculous? Years ago homemade and home grown items were treasured and loved but as our country (and factories) grew, allowing us to produce more for less, we became accustomed to the over-the-top acquisition of stuff. Quantity replaced quality and homemade became synonymous with "cheap" regardless of the effort that went into the handcrafted world of gifting.

Homemade treasures, like this lovely swan ornament by artist Z. Asha
are always the best kind of gifts to give and receive.
Once, a few days ago, I almost gave up on the idea of giving our farm products to our children and found myself wandering around a Super Store with an empty cart screaming to be filled. Then I overheard a husband fighting with his wife about a gift they were selecting for her mother. She swore they had gotten her the same machine knitted hat/scarf/glove set last year while he swore it was HIS mother they had given it to. Neither of them were happy.

That's when I realized that even if I did give our grown kids burger this year they would probably be happy to get it again next year. And if not...well at least I had given them something we worked very hard to produce, something we could give with real pride. I then filled my cart with toilet paper-since we haven't figured out yet how to make THAT-and left the Super Store that was making me feel Super Empty.

So,this year for Christmas our four offspring and their spouses are getting farm raised, pasture grown, certified organic meat (or if they prefer homemade laundry soap), the best "labor of love" we could possibly give them. No batteries needed. But please don't worry about the wee grandchildren. I did cave into commercialism slightly and bought them one toy each.

You gotta be 18 in this family to get hot dogs for Christmas. Sorry.


  1. Yay for you! We did a homemade Christmas last year . . . and I felt the same pressure as you . . . but it was the best Christmas ever!

    Merry Christmas Mrs. Farmwife!

  2. Folk should be thrilled to receive some of your Free Range Soap.

    Actually, I'm having MEAT too. Lady M has bought me a dried and peppered ham.

  3. We only give to the children now anyway so we are still pretty much tied to the stores (unless hubby learns how to make toys). Merry Christmas to you....

  4. I would seriously LOVE some certified organic meat for xmas! I wouldn't be complaining one bit!

  5. Great idea! I am jealous I could not do the same thing for my family. Would love to give my services as a gift. But what the hell would I do for them? Stand in front of their house on a footpost?

    Seriously, very well done.

  6. Yep, my sister & nieces always KNOW what they're getting from least in general. Sometimes I throw in a little something "extra" produced by some other crafter, but so far no one's complained!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family Donna! :)

  7. I felt the same pangs as you this year as I returned to making our gifts. Why? We have done the same in years past and our family has been thrilled.

    We too have given meat we raised and processed. Our family was thrilled and my mother asked this year if next year that could be her gift. She's missed it.

    I've decided that almost exclusively, home-made is the way we are headed this year for birthdays and Christmas.