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December 18, 2013

Christmas is about giving from the heart

Ready or not, here it comes — Christmas is just one week from today.

It has always struck me as curious that we know Christmas will come every year but we try to push prep time into the last few weeks and days before Dec. 25.

Shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, travel preparations all become a challenge that adds to the stress we already have.

When I read the Bible story of the birth of Christ, the only “haste” is the shepherds who were told by the angels of the birth. It was unusual for shepherds to rush, being used to waiting for the sheep to graze.

I wish I were more like my ancestors. By necessity, they worked on gifts all year long.

During a recent genealogy search, I learned that in the late 1890s sheep were raised on the home farm in Westville where I was born. The agricultural census said 10 pairs of mittens and 20 pairs of socks were knit that year from their wool. I prefer to think they were for gifts.

Our Christmas presents have changed dramatically, but there are the faithful who still make gifts by hand. My niece, Leslie Anne, gives gifts she has made, whether it be a painting, jewelry or some other creation. I am in awe of her dedication.

Some of the nicest gifts I have received came from hands that cared enough to put in the time. From our grandson Joshua, a handmade chalkboard; grandson Toby, a shelf with the emblem of a punk rock band burned into it (the emblem is inconsequential).

My son Todd, a perfectionist when it comes to carpentry, fashioned white birch and twig frames for my Adirondack-themed living room last Christmas. They hold photos that I took at Loon Lake and are one of my prized possessions.

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