Imagine the world without anger, without greed. We have the power, the tools, the skills and the resources right now to build a peaceful world, where people live in harmony with the Earth and each other. This blog explores ways we are doing just that, one post, one change, one day at a time. Join me. Tell your stories. Ask for help. Spread your ideas for making the vision real and, well, ordinary.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gifts from the heart

Bringing in the Christmas Tree, watercolor by Grannie Annie
Used with permission
My favorite winter holiday is Solstice, but my family tradition is Christmas. Like many of European descent, I am flushed with the scurry of last minute gifts and details as we count down the last few days.

You probably noticed how tough it is, still, to find just the right gifts that also do no harm to planet or people in their manufacture and shipping. As a society, we're still on the cusp of creating enough demand for Fair Trade, green and organic gift items and shipping policies. I made a lot of compromises.

Crocheted dish cloths
© L Kathryn Grace
All rights reserved

One fun gift that wasn't a compromise this year was a handmade dish cloth I tucked into my family gift boxes. I so enjoyed the organic cotton Toockiesdish cloths I discovered last summer that I decided to make my own. Crocheting dish cloths turned out to be fun. Sure, I could have bought the finished Toockies at lower cost than the organic cotton yarn all by itself. I could have saved time too.

But as I hooked the yarn over and under, the soft thread pulling through my fingers, I thought about each member of my family, imagined their hands in the soapy water with the little scrubbers. Seeing their hands reminded me of times together, times when our hands have touched. Weddings, births, holidays and birthdays, just getting together for tea and a long chat, the time we waited for the surgeon after my daughter's automobile accident, Dad's illness and death, our later celebration of his life and love.

I don't think I enjoy any gift so much as one a family member made--or chose--that I can use every day. I think of my sister every time I walk into my bedroom and see the little China dish with the roses on the lip. She picked that dish out for me more than half a century ago, when she was three and I was ten. Next to it, the miniature China vase she gave me ten years later. Both are treasures that always bring a smile to my face.

On a shelf in my dining room, a tattered box another sister gave me twenty or so years ago. In it I keep little treasures from the grandchildren, notes from my mother or sweetheart I forget all about and love to discover anew. She's the same sister who every year sends us a colorful handmade ornament, an annual treasure that feels like love because I sense her hands and keen mind as I touch them.

Quan Yin Figurine with vase and bowl
copy; L Kathryn Grace
All rights reserved
Not a meal passes that I don't pick up a tool, bowl or bottle someone dear selected for us. There's the mug with my oldest grandchild's handprint. Her mama and I imprinted a slew of the mugs with the baby's tiny hand when she was only five weeks old. Two weeks later, this one showed up under our tree.

On the buffet ledge above my desk, you will see the small unframed water color in the image first above. Mom did that sketch, a self-portrait with my dad, bringing in the fir tree. This one would decorate the living room. In each of two bedrooms, another, smaller tree. Christmas is my mother's favorite holiday

So many small treasures around the house. These are the gifts I love. And so, as I tucked my slightly crooked, decidely un-cost-effective handmade dish cloths into my gift boxes this year, I took pleasure in the thought that those hands I love so dearly, the hardworking, generous hands of the people I cherish, may touch these crazy cloths many times throughout the year. Perhaps their recipients will feel a little of the love I feel for them, will remember they are cherished.

Or maybe they'll go, "Ugh! What was she thinking?" and toss them in a drawer. You never know.

May your hearts be filled with peace and love as you travel through this week of food, gifts and giving. May the spirits you share, be they liquid or heavenly, warm your body and your soul.

We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.


kario said...

Just beautiful! I love the special, hand-chosen gifts, too and hope that year by year my gift-giving can reflect my values more and more. Much love to you and yours this holiday season.

Wanda said...

Happy Solstice! May the growing light fill you with warmth and joy.

Sharon said...

I love the pics, Kate! And your thoughts make me smile. Peace to you today.

Kathryn Grace said...

Kario, Wanda and Sharon, thank you, each of you, for stopping by and reading during that busiest of all weeks. May your hearts be warm as you visualize a new year of hope and transformation for us all.

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