Things made with Care,like so many stockings hung

Macaroni masterpieces…ashtrays made of old soap dishes…garden lanterns you can’t buy…that’s what Christmas is meant to be made of….

I will not lie to anyone about it, the fact that I love to shop. I am thrift store royalty in some parts, and in other parts, the maven of the markdown, but when the days grow shorter, and the nights are about as cold as this Southern Cali Kahu can deal with, it is not my thing to go out into the great big world of savings to shop, for anything other than food…and yes, up until last year, I made gifts of food, and gifts made out of things that were given to me as gifts. There has not been one gift returned to me, that I have made for others, and always, because I know that the gift is not the thing, but that I took the time to make it, infused it with the love of the Soul – this is what matters. And it not only matters to me, but also to whom I give that gift to.

I used to make the joke that the reason that I do not shop between the day after we eat too much in November until almost February is because I cannot afford to, and that is only partially true. The reason that I try hard not to do any kind of big fat shopping is simple – there has to be time in between all of the madness and the re-entering of the discount stores, for the world to relax into “I will not kill that nice little old lady who I don’t know” mode.

The best things I have ever received were the smiles and the thanks

Yup. It is the truth – I love creating things. And they are quite lovely things, I must say. I have given many gifts away, for years and years now, almost all hand made, comprised of other things that I was gifted throughout the year, things that constituted as payment for writing work I have done, of old, worn out things that were once beloved by me, of things that no one seemed to want or to care about anymore.  You can call it recycling, or you can call it my being a cheap-ass (more like broke ass, thank you very much), but the truth of the matter is that there is no gift given, or as well received, if it is done with a lot of heart, a grip of soul, and made completely out of Love, than the one made by our own hands.

Again, I must reflect on things that are the energy behind other things, behind gestures that have many meanings, behind the things that we have been conditioned to believe is the truth. There is no truth behind the idea that when you spend more on something brand new that your love is bigger than someone else’s is, just because the gift came wrapped beautifully and also came with a return receipt, just in case.  You see, that is the beauty in a gift made of things old, things collected, things given to us – it cannot be returned. If we know who we are giving the gift to, you can bet it will not only be something well appreciated, but more, something that will be loved for a long, long time.

Randy Jay Braun and my old, old photo frames from my old, old life…

I have a friend. He is very famous for his photographic artwork and is also known as Hawai’i’s Camera artist. His renditions of hula are loved worldwide. Randy and I are Soul family. This time last year, this person could not have even known the situation that I am still in, and I could not have received a more beautiful thing from this person named Randy and to whom I refer as “Bruddah.”

I won’t go on and on about what it was that he and his lovely Annie sent to me, but I will go on and on about what I was able to do with them all.

I have made gifts for people for years now, and I have not ever received a complaint about what it is that these people have been given. Ever. This time last year, I was able to give these beautiful, personalized gifts to people who, unless they are not within my close proximity, mean the most to me. This is not to say that there are not some folks who live far away from me who are not my closest folks (Hello? April lives 80 miles away, and Dannie and Noreen live on the other side of the country…) It is to say, though, that if you are within that mindset that tells you that your homemade gifts will not be loved as much as the store bought one, think again.

Energy does not lie, because it cannot lie

There are people who receive these things from me who, at one time, were very …closed-minded…about what Love really is, and until I explained it to them that I love them, but it is not what they think it is, they had no idea that this is what I meant. You see, I do not have to be seen naked, do not have to be one of many, do not have to do or be a lot of things that a whole LOT of people assumed that I was. And this does not apply to only one person, but a few people. I do not have to be with a man to love him, and, in fact, I do not have to be with any of the men whom I adore so dearly for them to know that I love them, because they indeed do know that I love them. They know this because it is in my energy.

It took a few of them a little time and some trading of energies and loads and loads of teaching and reminding them on my end that we can be friends, that we can be only friends, and that it would be way, way cool to do that, because that is how I love them, each and every one. When it was that they were able to get past what I look like, and saw through to who I really am, it was a giant relief for them. The proof was in the giving last year at this time, when I drove around my area, handing out these gorgeous renditions that, without Randy’s help, I would not have been able to do for them all.

And dammit if they don’t all still have these gorgeous gifts still hanging on their walls in their homes. It meant that much to them.

We never know how much we mean to anyone else until that one year comes along, right around this time of year, and we have no spare money to make gift purchases. This happened a lot of years ago, when I had two small kids at home who were waiting for Santa to show up. We had a long list of employees to buy gifts for, as well, and the children’s father, while he’d made a decent wage that allowed us to live comfortably, as long as we did no Christmas shopping for anyone else.

It was that year that I knew that I had to do something else. Here we were with at least two dozen permanent employees who had taken the time and what little money they’d had and bought us, or my favorite, made us something for Christmas. At that point I had already spent what I could on my own two kids, did not purchase anything for anyone else’s kids, and then sat on the phone with my friends wondering what we would do in order to make it so that we could recompense for what we had been given.

I went to the local craft and thrift stores, and that Christmas, Roxie’s workshop was officially a yearly thing. That was twelve years ago. This would be the first year that the workshop went on hiatus, and for nothing other than that I am now the one who is choosing between food and gas, or Christmas gifts and starvation. Yes, it is really like that, but as always, I will make it. I always make it somehow.

I guess what I am saying is…

I guess what I am saying is that every year a whole lot of people believe that they HAVE to go out and buy stuff. I respect that there are people who love this sort of thing, and that is all fine and good, because really, I have nothing really against people who like to shop. I really am one of them. Just not at this time of year.  It is not that I want someone else to do things my way, but rather that sometimes, when we have nothing to buy something with, it is a guarantee that there is something in all of our homes that we no longer want, that we would not be heart broken if it were taken apart and turned into a work of art.

I am not saying that there are people who are as able as anyone else is to do this. All I am saying is that there is a lot of extra stuff on the planet that no one wants anymore, that can be torn into pieces and made into something else that someone else who we love will love as much, and it will not be because of anything other than that it was made, with love, and with them squarely in mind.  And really, this is what I give to them, in the form of the thought that came from the creative collective mind, and the love that came right from me.

I cannot stand this particular materialism that we live in temporarily every year. There seems to be something each month that retailers want for us to spend our money on, and their biggest fishing trip is from now until they want it to be over with. I have a bone to pick with them, and I know that my mere and measly few dollars saved by me makes no difference to anyone, and never does it mean a thing to my bottom line, neither theirs – broke, no matter what, is broke. That is not something ridiculously hard to understand.

I am not my mother in that, I am not so painstakingly worried about it, about not having a balanced checkbook, not having my head above the “NSF” line so that my silly ego can feel like I have accomplished something this month. I am not my father in that, I will spend money on what I want, within good reason of my finances, if I want it, but I will NOT nickel and dime ANYTHING, ever, as that creates an energy of just not wanting to spend the money on anything that I think is not useful. I do not roll that way. I cannot think like those brought up in the depression era, because I am one of those who is living in the recession era, when what everyone who CAN afford to buy every tiny little thing that their lovely little hearts are desirous of, can be seen on any social networking site because people like showing their shit off. Even I like to show my shit off (and one day that shit that I show off WILL be in the form of a BMW 535i, V8, Sapphire Blue….all the bells and whistles, folks, because that is one of my heart’s desires…that car….see how that works? That energy thing? I feel somewhat kind of better just thinking that one day this will be the truth).

What is way sad, though, is that we are promoting materialism, rather than giving. This time of year calls for us to give, not to horde. We can horde energy, by the way, through compliments and shit like that. We all love compliments. Sometimes peoples’ net worth is what they need complimented. I know this. I was this. Think about it and you will see what I am meaning and saying.

Materialism and giving

I bet you can feel the mixed up energy in reading that emboldened thing right above this sentence. The two literally go hand in hand, but at the same time, are at odds with each other in an energetic sense. Materialism fuels this time of year, but it is about giving, really.

If you bother with the reality behind it all, you will know that this is NOT a holiday about three wise men, a baby in a manger, a virgin and a dude named Joe. In fact, it is a holiday that was set many years ago by Pagans…by people who were called heretics and crazies, who were tortured as witches and made to be seen by all as “evil.” If you know the meaning behind the reason for this holiday and can adhere to it the way that you and your soul feel best and most comfortable with, then you will know, too, that the reason that any one of us gathers at this time is NOT to see who got the best thing in a box, but to give to one another our Love.

Think about it – how many times a year do we see some of the people we see at this time of year, and how many times are we able to be with them, even though it might be nasty ugly outside and cold. How many times do you catch yourself thinking about these people throughout the year and tell yourself that you cannot wait to see them again and that they are the reason that you love this time of year?

If you really thought about why you love this time of year as much as you do, I am betting that in that thought you are not seeing yourself shopping before they get here, but you are, instead, seeing you there with them, Christmas day, smiles and hugs and warmth and all that other good stuff that happens at this time of year. THIS, you guys, is the meaning of this time of year. It is not about who can buy who the best gift, but who it is we love the most and want to give a token of that Love to.  It is not about who can rally the troops and gather the masses the day after we eat too much in November, but why it means so much to us to get out there long before the sun rises, stand in line with people we do not know, rush head long into danger, like, for reals, all for the love of one person. Of course, there are those of us who like that sort of shopping rush, and who want to get into the fracas, but for the most part, there is not one person who I have spoken with who will disagree with me when I say that enough is already enough.

If you cannot afford to buy, then create. This is how we get back what we so freely gave away, that we continue to freely give away, to people who already have way too much. No, not your loved ones…

Sam Walton’s loved ones…

Yup…I said it…deal with it…



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