Thanks to all the folks who braved the torrential rain and snow storms last weekend to come out to Welcome Back to Otterville studio tour.
We know it was not Christmas spirit-inducing weather so we appreciate you put on your boots and heavy coats to come out and see us.
It’s coming... and by all reports it’s supposed to be the classic, old-fashioned, fully-loaded, blustery kind of season. We all know it’s inevitable but most do not embrace it. We have had a few skiffs this past week - a reminder, a tease, a heads up - to prepare us for what is to come. There is no stopping what will happen, no way, short of going south, of avoiding a good Canadian winter.
Going south is not an option for me but like most folks, I do not like being cold. I can’t do anything about the weather so I try to adopt an accepting, welcoming mindset. It’s not easy, mind you, but it takes so much less effort than being grouchy and testy all the time. I would rather be happy than miserable so try to find, if not yearning, at least, tolerance and harmony.
I also work hard at being positive and finding joyful elements. Christmas is coming. People are generally more pleasant the closer we get to the holidays. Tempers may be shorter and folks may feel overwhelmed but they are still friendlier and more open. Smiles come easier and people are looking forward to Christmas visits, seeing family, enjoying laughter and good food.
I hate to tell you this but I am ready. Most of the decorating and cleaning gets done for the studio tour so it’s just final touches. My shopping is done but I do save the wrapping for last minute. I shop all year. When I see something, often in the most unusual situations, that I deem unique and perfect, I get it even if it’s July. As much as I would love to be Oprah to all my loved ones, I do have a limited budget. By being open all year it helps spread the expense over a year so sometimes I am able to afford a bit more. I try to make my gift giving meaningful. I do not burden myself with buying for everyone just because it’s expected. My family no longer exchanges gifts so that makes it much easier as well. I like to do some baking or cook up jars of homemade soups to make up boodle bags for my siblings. I do not expect or want anyone to reciprocate. As I said, “I like to do” that for completely selfish reasons. It makes me feel good.
That also becomes an issue at this time of year. Gift giving out of obligation is unacceptable in my mind. I read an article in a magazine recently that stated “gifts aren’t meant to be a transactional exchange but a kind gesture.” It said we should accept the show of affection without excuses as to why you don’t have a return gift so as not to make the other person uncomfortable. Showing them genuine appreciation is much more meaningful than any return gift at a later time which, in my mind, kind of spoils the joy of giving. A simple, sincere thank you and I love you, too, is all that is required.