Out and About – Week of December 7th

With Thanksgiving over, it’s time to think of starting your shopping for Christmas. The merchants have been decorated for over a month, and many have already started their Christmas shopping. I’ve never been a fan of shopping on “Black Friday”. It’s too easy to get hurt.

Here are four tips on how to make your Christmas shopping easier:

Shop year-round for the best bargains. The day after Christmas is a good time to find some great bargains, especially when it comes to wrapping paper and decorations. Keep a list of gifts you’ve bought so you won’t duplicate your efforts.
Mail out-of-town gifts early. Mailing your gifts in November by third class saves not only money but time spent in long lines at the post office in December. I mentioned this about a week ago.
Shop by catalog or on-line so you don’t have to deal with crowded stores, gift wrapping, and mailing. Also, most brand-name catalogs offer services 24-hours a day. You don’t even need to get dressed and can stay in out of the weather.
Keep the names of your gift and card recipients on file on your computer, and update the list during the year. When the Christmas season arrives, just print out the list for easy reference.
There are many who already have their homes decorated for the holidays. Many families still prefer to have a live tree in the house. Live trees require a bit more attention, but the end result is worth the effort. If you are thinking of a live tree, here are two things you’ll want to remember.

You’ll want to cut off at least two inches from the bottom of the tree trunk to allow the tree to better absorb water. It’s very important to water the tree every day it is up, and mist it every so often. If you have a cat, I’ve heard that if you put orange peelings around the base of the tree, the cat will stay away.
At the end of the holidays, cut up your tree or have it shredded. Use the evergreen mulch on perennial beds, in window boxes, or beneath shrubs.
Next week I’ll offer some information on Christmas gifts and Christmas rituals.

Because we are entering the season of family gatherings, I thought it appropriate to share a few more “Don’ts” when it comes to dining with family during this holiday season. Some of these manners don’t need to be said, because everyone just naturally abides by them. If some seem a bit ridiculous, you might want to use them to open conversations at the table. Those with true manners shouldn’t need to be reminded. Here they are:

Don’t bend over your plate, or drop your head to get each mouthful. Keep an upright attitude as nearly as you can without being stiff.
Don’t bite your bread. Break it off. Don’t break your bread into your soup.
Don’t eat with your knife. Never put your knife into your mouth. Don’t load up the fork with food with your knife, and then cart it, as it were, to your mouth.
Don’t turn your back to one person for the purpose of talking to another; don’t talk across the one seated next to you.
“Never forget: We are alive within mysteries.” ~ Wendell Berry

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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