Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Money Trees

Yes, why yes, money does grow on trees. At least it will for my Grandchildren this Winter Solstice.

I found this idea online to use those styrofoam tree-cone shapes for the base. Each tree fits 20 bills of your choice. The one to the right is finished though might be re-done to get the bows evenly placed. Its a simple enough project and perfect for those teens who like money rather than token gifts a $20 bill could buy. Sure its not much, but it should be fun. I think I will try to find some quotes about money growing on trees (or not) and include it with each package.

Bills are folded accordion style the long way with a bobbie pin in the middle to make them fan out into a circular flower look. They get placed starting at the bottom and working up, trying not to have spaces show up or add bows.

My neighbor has 12 Grandchildren, and liked this idea so much, she bought supplies for it too. Later this morning, we are going to sit on her porch and start working on them, one at a time. Luckily, her kids are local so she bought gift boxes. Mine, on the other hand, need to be shipped, and so I bought these long wine-bottle gift bags and tissue paper to keep the postage costs down a bit. Folding & pinning money is actually boring, so working with my neighbor and chatting while we do it will ease that boredom. 

I also did some hand work attaching binding to a pair of mug rugs I am giving, and have a couple more projects left to do before the end of this month. 

And then, there is the wrapping and shipping.

There is a joy in the wisdom about holiday gift-giving that I gained over the years. When I look back over the years and how this frenzy started, I could see that it was media advertising that started all the stress. I grew up in a family that did not celebrate Christmas with gifts but by gathering for family dinners...first on Christmas Eve with a meal consisting of 7 different fish dishes, and then again on Christmas Day with turkey, chicken, beef, venison, pork, duck and home-made sausages. There were veggies and salads, potatoes and pasta. While it looks like a lot of food, usually you would put a spoonful of this and that on your plate, and still have room for pie or some other fancy desert.

No, it was the advertisements when my Sons were young. They showed games, and motorized airplanes, and Legos, Star Wars figures and ships, and things that every kid had to have. So the push was on for me to shop the early-bird sales or miss out and run the risk of disappointing my Sons. Thing was, the toys usually broke on the first flight, or had parts missing and still were disappointing. Next year, I tried harder. 

Every year, my anxiety grew, and as prices rose, my income did not. The pressure was intense and it became more difficult for me to stay sane and centered, and loving.

This last decade is the one that marks the most of my personal growth with this issue, and in truth, maybe only the last few years. There are a lot of reasons for the change in me about my attitude towards this season. Some changes came from within and some came from outside me.

I still struggle to be sure of what I am doing, and struggle to make sure I don't rush to the store (outside of town of course) to buy one more thing to make their gifts not look so light. I haven't owned a TV for decades now, so I don't get the advertisements. I make most of my gifts and have become ok with that. And them? The objects of my affection? What do they say or think? 

My guess is that they will remember the handmade gifts long after the store-bought ones went into the landfills. At least, I hope that is the case.