Hey, another cooking one? And you do notice you kinda missed the boat, right?
Yes and no. I'm not nearly good enough a cook to speak on how to do a nice spread for Thanksgiving. For that, I'd refer you to Sweetie. And it's about more than just Thanksgiving.
So what's up?
A little of everything, really. Not so much Helpful Household Hints as Holiday Hints.
Oh, holiday advice. Okay, lay it on me.
It's a little late to point this one out, so I may do it again after January 1 2012. But here it is: start your holiday shopping early.
Start shopping for Christmas in January. Not the day-after sales, I mean just in general. See a book that your dad would like? Grab it. Perfect pair of mittens for your five-year-old niece? Toss them in the shopping cart.
So much of Christmas shopping is done right around the Christmas season, but there's a couple of good reasons not to do that. The first is that Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of Jesus, a gift from God that was never intended to have a particular "season" per se. The other is, when it comes time to remember what that great book was or where those adorable mittens were, you've thought a thousand other things, noticed and forgotten a hundred other gift ideas. So remember your family and friends at all times, and if you see a little something here or there that will help you remind them how much you love them, get it right then. Don't wait.
That's a lot of stuff to have hanging around.
So what? Take a serious assessment of your home. How much stuff do you have hanging around right now? Probably more than you'll ever need. I have more clothes than I can wear in one week, I have more comic books than I can read in a month, back issues of car and truck magazines, a tractor I only drive once a week when the weather's nice and it's starting reliably. What kind of stuff can you do without?
Hmm. Well, when you put it like that...quite a lot. Does this mean your tractor is for sale?
NO. I'm just pointing out that if you're worried about how much stuff I'm going to suggest you store for Christmas, you could probably afford to reduce some of what you've got lying around to make room for it.
I built my bed. It's a simple platform raised about 15" so the mattress is at a comfortable sitting height. There is no box spring, not since I figured out the main purpose of the box spring is to provide an even support for the mattress. The plywood top of my bed platform serves that purpose nicely. And underneath my platform is a large amount of storage space. Several plastic totes with lids, tied together so there's no difficult crawling under there to go fetch the last one, store Christmas gifts until the season comes. One box for each member of the immediate family (not as useful as you might think when kids get bigger), and a few more boxes for outlying family. Everything neatly stashed, out of the way.
This year we've decided not to give much in the way of gifts in the household this year. We've all got everything we need. So we'll stuff stockings and that will be most of our gift giving.
So far you're mostly talking about Christmas.
I know. That's because it's the next holiday coming up. And isn't that a shame? If you're of a religious bent, the last thing you want to do is to compartmentalize the celebration of the gift to the world that Jesus is. But here we are, doing it. We do Christmas at Christmastime. We do Valentine's Day in February. We take the universal and make it an abbreviated event.
So my thing here is just an exhortation, urging you to wake up each morning thinking that it's Valentine's Day, and Christmas Day, and Thanksgiving Day and Independence Day and all the rest. Each and every day is a holiday, a day to set at least a little time aside and remember all the people who have made this country great, all the sacrifices that have gone before to secure our freedoms and liberties, all the people in our lives who helped make us who and what we are.