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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Thursday, June 6, 2013

My sister Nancy is a genius

One of my sisters is famous for her spontaneous problem-solving. She is a creative person and sometimes she just gets an idea, a good one, out of the blue.

"I don't know, it just popped into my head," she says.

Take Christmas.

O.K. if you are male you are now rolling your eyes, but women, involved in large far flung families like ours, have this in the back of our minds 12 months of a year.

The thing is if you care about people you want to show that, and get it right.

Another issue of course is that there are a lot of us and the younger set has many different financial obligations. The things that come with babies, mortgages, working and trying to get a career on track. That pretty much uses most of the cash and all of the time.

What got to me was this Easter my son-in-law lay on my couch after a great, funny dinner and said "I like Easter so much better than Christmas. No pressure and everyone just has fun."

This got my daughter and I thinking.

So my daughter called Nancy.

A few years ago we went from everybody sending everyone a present to drawing names, except for the kids under 18 or adults over 80 who of course need a gift from everyone.

The name drawing worked for a while but really, depending on the name, it could be hard. If you haven't seen anyone in a while how do you know what is in their closet, on their bookshelf, or in their kitchen?

Putting an Amazon gift card in the mail was fine, but it didn't really feel like a connection.

And connection, in a meaningful way, is what the whole object of the exercise is.

Enter Nancy and her brilliant idea.

O.K. here it is.

We maintain the 18 and 80 rule.

However for the rest of us each person prepares one gift that gets given, by email, to everyone on Christmas morning.

That gift is the instructions for something the giver does particularly well.

A sharing of themselves and what matters to them.

For instance:

My husband may do a video of his home-made yoghurt routine.

My brother-in-law who was once actually interviewed by CBC on his famous oatmeal may tell us how to do it.

My deaf sister could give us an ASL (American Sign Language) refresher.

I might do a seminar on hemming jeans and sewing buttons (the right way).

Nancy, who is a florist, could show us how to arrange flowers so they don't look like a bunch of stuff dumped in a vase.

You get the point.

So imagine this. 

Christmas morning you open your email and, in our case, there will be a multitude of messages that really share some of that person with you.

Now isn't Nancy so smart?


Jodie said...

That is brilliant - I Love it and may borrow it (with thanks and authorship to you and Nancy)!

annie said...

She is so very smart! Now make sure she doesn't patent that idea before I use it. Hope you are weathering the storm.

Far said...

she totally is! :)

nobody said...

To me it seems like an additional burden. I don't know what somebody would want from me, I'm average and not outstanding with special skills. Now I'd have to spend a lot of time planning, preparing and rehearsing a video, and buy a tripod as I live alone. Ugh! As much as I HATE shopping I'd rather buy useless crap than spend time agonizing over some instructional video or written directions.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas for those with families goes so quickly, I cannot fathom a burden like this during that time. It would be better to do it in September, or February for most.

Rose said...

Nancy is a caring genius! Everyone has something to share - doesn't have to be high tech.

KayoticSewing said...

Love that idea!! Nancy IS really a genius!!

I can see 'Nobody's' point, but you know, it doesn't 'have to' be a video. You can borrow this idea and go to town with it!

- Maybe a special / secret recipe of yours in an email with pictures of you making it?
- Maybe a poem you wrote?
- Maybe everyone emails everybody else a funny picture of themselves

It doesn't have to be a special skills demo, just a bit of you that you want to share.

Diana said...

I love this idea. I too come from a large family and it all gets too much at Christmas. Thank you for sharing.

Bunny said...

I'm leaning toward Nobody's opinion, grinch that I am. I think sometimes you just have to say stop. Our family has decided a while back that gift exchanging is only for the immediate, very immediate family. We all would much rather have the enjoyment of each others company and some great food over any sort of gift, probably that we really don't need. So we stopped the extended gifting and have big get togethers instead, all contributing to a gluttonous feast. It's wonderful.

LinB said...

Nancy do be so smart, it's a wonder her head don't bust open.

Our family, like Bunny's, no longer gives gifts --except all the children cheat and give something to our mother and father. (And, of course, parents gift their children.) Also I cheat by knitting a pair of socks for each person, but I make them from raveled thrift-store sweaters or scavenged yarn, so they cost almost nothing per pair. Then, at Christmas, after the "gluttonous feast" we play nonsense games, in which the prizes are beautifully wrapped gleanings from our junk drawers.

Anonymous said...

I love the emailed gifting idea. If you're not a creative sort you could do something like send a copy of a poem you love or a link to some uplifting websites you've discovered. You do have to at least know how to use email however, but what a good way to share your special way of looking at the world.

Vicki said...

What a great idea!