For some people, yesterday was an important day. I know some of you are scanning your brains thinking mmm…because the huskers lost? Because it was a Saturday? Because it was somebody’s birthday that I forgot to send a text to? Because it was the first of October? Well, yeah, that did make it important because any purchase made from here on out till Christmas is backed by a legit gift receipt so when your 9 year old nephew, Tate, hates his footed pajamas and tells you he’s too old for them, they can still go back and be replaced with the video game he really wanted.
However, I’m not here to talk purchases with you. I’m here to talk homemade today. Along with it being October, we must also realize we are within 90 days of the holidays. Actually, 60 if you consider Thanksgiving the official start, and for some of us, that means it’s time to get off our asses and whip out product. I have calendars, fudge, and sugar cookies to make. Don’t tell me that you have nothing to do. I might have to hurt you! Are you making a new stocking for the new grandbaby or a batch of your world-famous beef jerky or the microbrews you make in your basement? (Please no meth that you mixed up in your lab though, okay?)
Now, I’m guessing some of you are saying: Is she smoking crack? First of all, it’s October. Christmas is months away. Second of all, make shit? I can’t make a pb & j. Third, don’t be encouraging people to make shit for me! I do not need a 3 foot by 3 foot framed cross-stitch of mushrooms with mice hiding underneath. Hell to the No!
Okay, I get it. There are stipulations. If you break out your old 4-H and home ec. class skills, it better be for something good. I’m just saying that people these days sometimes appreciate your efforts more than they used to. Case in point: so we’re having a potluck at my job. One guy is grilling wieners for us and everyone else is bringing sides. There’s two types of lists to sign up for – chips and condiments for the non-culinary crowd and the dessert list for the people who actually bake in their home, not just light a candle that smells like it. Guaranteed I know who will choose which list and both are perfectly okay. We need a happy balance. I’m just saying that in today’s society, people are fascinated by those who can “make.” Remember the last time you got energetic and made a fantastic pie to take to your neighbors and everyone ooo’d and awed over it and asked where you got it and you said you made it and they looked at you like you were Da Vinci and in disbelief said, “You MADE this?” People are shocked because nobody takes the time anymore. Convenience is important. Well, that and sitting at your kids’ 5000 sporting events, but you know what I mean.
So all I’m sayin’ is that quite possibly you could impress someone this holiday season by simply taking the time to make something. Not only is it personal that way, but it’s a helluva lot cheaper, too. (Dave Ramsey and Martha Stewart would be proud.) Of course, I will caution you not to make something hideous or awful. I have vivid memories of this class project I made at school with a spray paint can lid, plaster of paris, and a plastic fork. No lie! We filled the lid with plaster and stuck the handle of the fork down in it and it was to be used as a message center. You put a paper note between the tines of the fork to leave a note for someone. Oh, how embarrassed I was of that thing, but my mom loved it. Apparently, when you have a kitchen table full of mail and random other crap, that thing sits higher than the rest so she could tell me where they were each night when I got home from school. Now, we’d send a text or call one of 5 cell phone numbers to track each other down, but then, well, I’m just glad the tines finally broke or she’d probably still have it!
My point is: homemade is now a novelty. It can be quite impressive…As long as you do it right… because you may know how to sew, but you may not realize that whipping me up a cheetah print jumpsuit probably isn’t going to go over so well. Let me again state that for the record. If done poorly or with icky taste or without knowing the likes and dislikes of the receiver , it will probably just be filed in the closet of future elephant gift exchange items to be laughed at by classy people. There’s still a difference between being able to make something and knowing when it will get the stare-at-the-ground-“Oh…um…thanks…”-even-though-I-have-no-freaking-clue-what-it-is-nor-understand-why-it’s-giraffe-size-and-painted-olive-green-and-rust-brown. The world simply does not need more macramé plant hangers or latch-hook koala bear wall hangings. On the flip side, a lady I work with makes toffee that looks straight out of a chocolatier’s catalog and that rocks. Who doesn’t like to get homemade good food that can be eaten and not sit around to collect dust? They flipping charge $20 a pound for that shit at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory! Holy cow!
I’m just sayin’ if you’ve got some talent, use it. I happen to know a great guy that can paint his ass off. Nobody would mind one of his paintings for Christmas. I know somebody else who makes rag rugs from old denim jeans and sisters that make to-die-for monster bars and a mean strawberry cheesecake, respectively. If you don’t, but want to jump on the bandwagon, try www.etsy.com, there’s a whole bunch of people there that do homemade right or you can find some cool crap on www.pininterest.com or maybe you can make a basket of goodies from stuff you buy at your local farmer’s market and pass it off as yours. See, things are different. Homemade is not a poor, hand-me-down and left-overs kind of thing anymore.
So make your pretty stationery and your peppermint-topped fudge cupcakes. We’ll be waiting for them. But if you don’t like what I make, please don’t judge me harshly. Just throw it in the trash after I leave and say “Bless her heart, she meant well” because, well, I really did!