Sow There! Gift-giving grumbles — old or old-fashioned? Nov. 28, 2019

 Hyacinth bulbs can be grown indoors year-round; just add water. Another project idea is to bake pumpkin seeds, but this orange fruit may be destined for the compost pile. (Heather Hacking — Contributed)
November 29, 2019 

Bulbs in barely-August, Halloween costumes in September and Christmas wrap before Turkey day … Stores are more and more brazen these days about stocking the shelves for events that are still a season away.

I shake my head with confusion and hear myself muttering: “Things just aren’t the way they used to be … .”

Now I know what getting old feels like.

I could call it “old fashioned,” but frankly, my traditions are just “old.” I send paper Christmas cards, buy gifts in stores with a roof and walls and sometimes make gifts by hand.

In the near future, we’ll have hologram Christmas trees and virtual visits with Santa. Most households will have a special room in their garage to “make” gifts via a 3D printer.

This week, I used my cellphone to log a holiday event in my Google calendar. (This whole cellphone calendar idea is new to me, but makes sense in a modern world).

My calendar is color coded – work is blue, personal is purple and days deemed as holidays by Google are green.

Since when did Black Friday become a holiday? I’m so outdated that the green reminder of America’s biggest shopping day was a huge shock to me.

I can understand why Taxes Due is a helpful reminder. However, I’m fairly certain the mass merchandisers can do a decent job of reminding us about Black Friday, without the aid of Google.

Very soon, Black Friday will also be outdated. While visiting my folks, we saw a television commercial for the “12 days of Black Friday.” Will Google soon add 12 green reminders on my cellphone?

Gifts with glue and guts

For several years, I tried to rebel against the consumerism of the holiday – mostly because I lacked available funds.

I also liked the idea of making crafts in my living room while watching schmaltzy Hallmark holiday romance movies. The problem is that I’m not very crafty. Some gifts were a hit, like the hand-painted clay ornaments, no-bake fudge, crochet washcloths and painted “God jars.” Other years, my gifts looked like they were made by barn animals. One noteworthy disaster included the origami swan mobiles, made with recycled Christmas cards and attached to a metal clothes hanger.

Some ideas are better left as merely ideas.

This week, I visited Dad and perused the holiday decorations, which are on display year-round.

“Dad, whatever happened to that really ugly origami swan mobile I made that year?” I asked.

“The Smithsonian stopped by one day and asked for it,” Dad quipped.

As much as I make fun of merchandise that arrives in stores months before you need it, I’m glad spring-blooming bulbs were on sale before I became temporarily unemployed.

Last year, I grew hyacinths in my classroom almost continuously. At the winter break, I gifted each of my students with a bulb, a glass jar filled with pebbles, and planting instructions.

My intention was to again have bulbs blooming year-round.

At my current job at the college, I share an office. So far, I have two hyacinth bulbs in vases. The roots are growing nicely and I should have blooms before Valentine’s Day.

Three bulbs are doing their thing on my kitchen counter at home.

I haven’t counted, but I think I have about 40 bulbs remaining.

I can’t think of a better “crafty” Christmas idea than planting bulbs in decorative pots, and giving them as gifts. A hand-written note will explain that the pot of dirt should be placed where it will receive rain. Next spring, the recipient will appreciate how much I love them.

In the meantime, I need to get cracking on writing those old-fashioned Christmas cards. Maybe my friends will be inspired to use them for origami.

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