Saturday, December 17, 2011

Traditions of the Season

Dashing through the malls? No.

Candy canes? No.

Staying up all night to finish sewing or baking something? Yes.

On Wednesday, Dec. 14, eighty dolls in sizes from 6 to 18 inches left my house and were delivered to Catholic Social Services. Why do I redress dolls? I can turn junk dolls into nice toys. My nieces and nephews aged out on me, so I do it for kids I don't know and will never meet. The idea of children without toys in the darkest days of the year worries me. This is romantic and naive. I saw a parent walk away from CSS with two trash bags of gifts he'd chosen for his family. Next time I will close my eyes and preserve my illusion that each parent is choosing one or two things for each child. 

One would think I'd be tired of making doll clothes, but a few dolls missed the cutoff. I'll save them for another year. The nude vinyl Madeline with 2 books needs a dress and red tie to go with her shoes, socks, and hat. A one-legged doll needs mending, as does a doll with bad hair. Vampire Ken's 1980's clothing is obscenely tight and his cape won't stay on. Generic Male Action Figure requires a chef's apron and barbecue mitt to go with his chef's hat. He can transform into Dentist Guy with a change of shirt. Camo Max is still fussing about his shirt and demands mossy green socks as well. I'd like to give him a mossy green gag.

I'm not the consumer the ads are aimed at. Years ago I went into a mall pre-Christmas and was scarred for life: the interminable caroling, the cloying odors, the hordes of people, the same merchandise at all 240 stores! The only stores I go into between Thanksgiving and Christmas any more are grocery and 2nd hand stores. I shop in my basement for fabric to turn into tote bags; nearly all of us take our own bags into stores, and even fabric totes eventually wear out. And I make cookies, because this allows me to sample several kinds. They get given away and do not stick around to tempt me into sugar shock and worse. 

My family is on the odd/eccentric side of Christmas as well. My mother says that anything that cannot be thrown away after a reasonable amount of time, or eaten, is not a good gift. My brother claims that anything he really wants is so specialized and expensive that he can't ask for it as a gift, so he gives it to himself and lets the rest of us supply what he really needs: new socks. A cousin believes we can never have too many refrigerator magnets. What do they want and expect? Christmas cards.

I haven't mailed Christmas cards I wrote out 2 years ago. It's the last week before Christmas, and I have not started to construct a good many things that I had thought I'd get around to. I avoid the entire Christmas mail-by rush and mail presents after Christmas. Think of it as my New Year's celebration. Who knows, I might get it done by April 1.

What do I want for Christmas? Space. I'd like to see the floors in my basement and garage. I'd like to move the car into the garage and not have to dig it out after the rare Dayton snows. Oh, I know! I'd like an e-mail mailbox with more mail than spam. Send me emailed greetings and a silly joke, and I'll be happier than if you spent hours searching out the quintessential wonderfulness.