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.
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.
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.