Often when I am outside gardening or tending to my animals, I come across little wonders that make me realize just what a wonderful place we have here.
During the summer I am always intrigued by the many insects I notice that would otherwise pass by, especially all the pollinators that make growing food that much easier due to their great work ethics. I’ve always been told that every one out of three bites of food you take were made possible by a pollinator - which is why they fascinate me so much.
Many times, we don’t stop and look around and realize all we have to be thankful for already. We usually go straight from Thanksgiving to figuring out our shopping list and preparing for Christmas, never taking enough time to truly enjoy our surroundings.
I am lucky in saying I not only have a wonderful family, which thankfully has a tolerance for my silliness, as well as many great friends that I am absolutely forever available for as they are for myself as well. But it is in the quiet moments that you are able to reflect and see all of the little miracles happening all around you each and every day.
Some of my favorites are watching how nature prepares all of its creatures for the upcoming season. This year we had a ridiculous amount of acorns fall from our trees which is signaling to me that the animals will need to stock up for food, and that our winter may be harsher than normal.
While nature is preparing for the changing of the seasons, I also can begin to stockpile extra bird seed and treats so that I am able to fill in where Mother Nature may miss and keep all of those creatures healthy and well. Then I am also able to spend my winter watching these glorious animals and knowing that I am helping them out.
With the Christmas holiday coming up, so much of the marketing has turned pretty much every holiday, but especially the month of December, into shopping chaos. For many years I have thought I needed to get every item listed on my daughters’ Christmas lists just due to the fact that they are really good kids. I know plenty of other people that do the same. Some that are extra adventurous wake up early for Black Friday shopping and crowds that I have decided is well worth paying the original price just to stay home. Then there is always the “Toy of the Year.” You know, the one that once announced that you will always see it advertised but stores will never have in stock - other than maybe five for the thousands that come searching for it.
But what if we tried to change all of that? When I look back, the most precious gifts that I have ever received are the ones that were given from the heart. The ones that were created by someone that cared enough about you that they decided you were worth their time enough to make you a gift. Some view it as being frugal. I view it as the most loving way to gift ever.
I have received jellies, homemade noodles, tins of cookies, goat’s milk soap and even from a dear friend an amazing healing balm that is made with essential oils, which will heal up darn near anything. Granted, kids often want more material items but transitioning them over a bit at a time will have them realize the beauty in it as well.
This year my daughters and I will be figuring out our gifts to others and trying to decide on items that would be meaningful and cherished. While that might mean infusing a flavor into some whiskey or bourbon for my grandpa, or such as last year when I made a scrapbook of all our family, including the ones that have passed and presented it to my grandmother.
One year I even took the pinecones off our Christmas tree a year prior and was able to make ornaments for everyone in my family. It just so happened it ended up being the pinecones from the last Christmas tree that my lumberjack dad ever cut down, which made it more special.
So, while you are busy looking at sales ads and making your shopping lists, think about the little things that your friends and family would cherish and channel your inner craftiness and get to work. You will end up creating more than just a gift, but memories will be made that will last forever.
Sacha Burns is an organic gardener and owner of Sunkissed Organics in Pinola. She may be reached at email@example.com.