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Simplifying Christmas!

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  • Sheryl Simons
    The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 4, 2007
      The Simple Life
      By Sheryl Simons

      Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it
      comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow. ~Edward
      Sandford Martin

      You will not believe this, but here in our snowy icy winter
      weather, we still have two blue birds in our yard, that we are seeing
      daily. I thought they were gone long ago, but we began seeing them
      each morning. I hope they head south soon! (Yes, they are bluebirds,
      not bluejays!) But they must be finding enough food to eat.

      * * *
      This Christmas season there is the danger to let the worldliness of
      prosperity creep into the joy of Christmas. With all the busy
      activities of shopping, dinners and travel it so easy to let those
      things consume us. It can be the silent thief of the month robbing
      the joy that comes on meditating on the significance of Christ coming
      to this fallen world. It can rob you of actually listening to what
      the words really mean in some of our most favorite Christmas

      * * *
      Simplifying Christmas!

      * Do not go into debt for Christmas. If you are short on cash now
      give gift certificates you make. How about a golf game with your
      grandson (or grandpa) for next summer? How about dinner and a movie
      with grandma (that way you pay when you go, not right now). Or a
      certificate for almost anything (massage for mom and dad, free once a
      month lawn mowing, or a shopping trip for after Christmas during
      clearance prices! You will save nearly ½, and have time to shop
      around. The recipient will be thankful you are careful with your
      money, and they will be getting double value (if you normally spend
      $100, now you might get the value of $200, so your money goes further
      just by waiting for after Christmas sales! The gift could be for
      labor, or even a dollar amount of something the recipient will

      * Do only the most important things. Don't try to cram everything
      in. Take time to sip cocoa and go for a drive to see the Christmas
      lights. Read the Christmas story and have a quiet Christmas.

      * Bake ahead and freeze. Do plates of goodies that you can pull out
      in a pinch when friends stop over. While at it, do healthy snacks no
      one will feel guilty to eat, such as veggies and low-fat dip, or

      * Bake together with a friend or family. It's so much fun, and a
      great way to learn some new recipes!

      * In all the extravagance of America, some families do the three
      gifts of the Magi idea. Everyone gets 3 gifts, something to wear,
      something you want, something else you need.

      * One young mother was telling me how her mother and mother-in-law
      always tried to outdo each other with presents for her kids, with out
      respecting her and her husband's wishes that Christmas be simple.
      They didn't want their kids to get used to the materialism of
      Christmas. Respect your child's wishes for their children. Allow
      them to make the decisions for their family that they need to make.
      Ask them for ideas. If you really want to spend a lot of money,
      consider a family vacation, or put the money in a bank account for
      college. Maybe you can keep special gifts for them at your house, to
      play with, but remember that your grandkids won't remember anyway,
      but your kids will. One family I know got a big cardboard box for
      their son, and he was the envy of the neighborhood to have a "fort"
      in his bedroom – and it was free!

      * No matter how young, kids can give gifts. Even if it's a fancy
      little box with a card inside that says "LOVE". It is a gift, or
      maybe you can help them decorate a special cookie for grandpa, or
      help wrap a box of warm socks. They will feel part of the `giving'
      that way. That's what I tried to emphasize with my kids. Even
      though it doesn't have to be expensive, it is the giving that counts.

      Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer
      4 t ground cinnamon
      2 t ground ginger
      2 t ground nutmeg
      1 t ground cloves
      1 t allspice (opt.)
      1 c non-dairy creamer

      Combine well and give as gifts in pretty jars with bows and labels.

      Colored Sugar

      To make your own colored sugar, add food coloring to sugar crystals.
      Let mixture air dry. Repeat if necessary for the darkness you
      prefer. If clumpy break apart with a fork. Keep in small containers
      or plastic baggies.

      Keeping it Simple,

      Please contact me with recipes, questions, comments and simple living
      ideas that work for you. Email: thesimple_life@...
      Join the online newsletter to print recipes and look up previous
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