Monday, December 29, 2008

My Family’s 100-Mile Christmas

The holidays have been busy and I’ve loved every moment of it! This year my family celebrated a 100-mile Christmas. We tried to buy gifts made or produced within 100 miles of where we live. Exceptions were things like books, CDs and DVDs, which were to come from locally owned businesses. We also included secondhand items because those things have been recycled.

For my daughter and her boyfriend, I had a local photographer touch up and convert pictures of them into black and white. The photos were printed on canvas and stretched onto frames to make them look like art pieces. The photos were taken when they were two or three years old. He’s on a merry-go-round and she’s on the rocking horse I blogged about earlier this month. They are thrilled with their photos, and everyone decided they were some of the best gifts of the year! Here they are...

My daughter gets top marks for 100-mile gift giving. She found interesting and unique secondhand books for everyone, locally made organic barbecue sauce, cheeses, etc., and she made donations to places that are important to each of us. For me, the animal lover, a donation of kitten formula to the SPCA. Aaawww!

And I received other gifts that can only be described as perfect. A can of primer from my husband, with a note saying he'll paint the bathroom this week. It’s like one of those TV ads. Paint brush—$1.98. Can of paint—$18.98. A freshly painted bathroom—priceless!

My son gave me a handmade tote bag with a typewriter silk screened on it. Isn’t it fun? I really love it.

I’d like to do the 100-mile Christmas next year. There are lots of positive reasons for it, but the best one was that instead of dashing out to the mall, it encouraged us to put more thought into the gifts we gave. Somehow they were more personal, and that was the best gift of all. And now we have a whole year to plan ahead.

How did you spend the holiday? Did you receive a gift that really touched your heart, or give one that touched someone else's?

Until next time,


Anonymous said...

What great ideas, Lee! And so thoughtful, which is what gifts should be, I think.

I gave my stepson a print of a painting by artist EJ Hughes, who lived about sixty miles from me on Vancouver Island. The painting is of a West Coast scene that reminded my stepson of a beach we often went to when he was little, and I bought it and had it framed at a local shop.

Do let us know about further developments in your 100-mile plan!


Susan Lyons said...

Wonderful gifts, Lee, and a great concept for Christmas. I covet the typewriter bag! (Though not the memories of typing on one of those machines, with all the carbon copies...)

Pretty much the only gifts I give are blank cards, handmade, using my own photographs. In this age of email and text messaging, I figure it's nice if every once in a while, on a special occasion, a person takes the time to hand-write a message inside a card. So I make sure they have the cards on hand!

Lee McKenzie said...

Rachel said:
Do let us know about further developments in your 100-mile plan!

Definitely! Your stepson's painting sounds gorgeous. I'll google the artist so I can see what his work is like.

Lee McKenzie said...

I cannot imagine trying to write a book on a typewriter, Susan! But I've always liked the sound of clacking typewriter keys.

I also like to send personal, handwritten notes to people, sometimes for no occasion at all. I like to receive them as well, but these days most people use email.

Joan Perrott said...

Greetings! I loved reading about your Christmas. I was so happy to see Joe and Michaela again at Mom's 90th birthday, they are fantastic!
This year our children decided that everyone had to make a gift for the person whose name they chose. We have seven and two friends so the list is long! Dave welded a toilet seat onto a frame that can be inserted into a reciever hitch on a truck--very interesting! Neva;s boyfriend called it brilliant and we all laughed hard as you can imagine! Dave volunteered that the lid comes off and is dishwasher safe--hilarious!
Last year I gave Neva a pair of knitting needles and some yarn in her "Care Package" at Christmas. She taught herself to knit, and this year she knit a beautiful hat and scarf for her sister Carmen! A close friend, Erica was in the draw and found instructions on the internet for a wallet made entirely of duct tape which she gave to Dave! different. Dionne bought a bamboo steamer at a second hand store and turned it into wall art by adding some jewelry and cedar shelves- very innovative! Renee and Carmen both painted on canvas for Dionne and Fiona-- true works of art though each very different. Fiona knit a gorgeous warm and soft white scarf and made a shoulder bag in Rochelle's favorite colors-gray and purple. Rochelle bought some plain aprons and wrote inspiration quotes with fabric paint. She also chose some pictures of Neva and the family at diffentnt times over the years and had them enlarged and made them into a collage. She also had one of the photos made into a puzzle. Trevor made for Erica and the gift is still in BC so we wait for the creative masterpiece to be unveiled. Everyone treasured their gifts and this is the first step in the process of helping us redefine Christmas for our family. Take care and best wishes for a happy New Year!

Lee McKenzie said...

Hi, Joan! Thanks for visiting The Writer Side!

I love your crative gift ideas, especially the bamboo steamer turned wall art. Brilliant idea!

Hugs to you and your family!

I'm now going to google "duct tape wallet" to see if I can find those instructions!