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BEACON Senior News

Restore-ing Christmas

Nov 22, 2023 11:43AM ● By Amy Laundrie

I’ll admit this right now: Christmas shopping stresses me out. The pressure to find the perfect gift can be overwhelming, and I occasionally find myself just grabbing something to get it over with. To compound the stress, a few years back my siblings and sister-in-law decided we would only exchange handmade gifts…handmade! 

My brother, a vintner and beekeeper, has given me a bottle of his amazingly delicious wine. This year, I might also get a jar of his honey. 

My youngest sister repurposes items she finds at resale shops with an alcohol ink process. She can transform the top of an old table into a work of art that makes one think of a glistening geode or a rushing mountain stream. 

My other sister likes to sew, quilt and embroider. One time, she made me a colorful cloth purse that could have come from a Vera Bradley store. 

Last but certainly not least, my sister-in-law loves photography and made personalized coasters with photos of family. All very thoughtful gifts. 

And here I sit.

I worry. I stress. I think. Then something my friend Judy said a few days earlier resonated with me. Judy is challenging herself to purchase clothes exclusively through resale shops like the arc or Goodwill. Not only does it save her money, it also supports organizations that give back to the community. 

Another huge factor in Judy’s decision is her commitment to reducing waste and actively participating in preserving the planet.

I admired Judy’s commitment, and with gift buying in mind, I had a moment of inspiration. I’d wander around the local arc stores and look in their craft section. With some luck, I’d find glass and wooden beads that I can string on a wire to make personalized wine glass charms. I was suddenly eager to shop.

I recognized that while I may not have the same DIY talents as my siblings, I know books. Visiting my local used bookstore, with its welcoming staff, is always a joy.

Additionally, there’s a cozy independent bookstore nearby that offers rare books and a delightful space to enjoy coffee and tea. I’ve noticed that area libraries frequently host used book sales, providing another avenue for unique finds. I bet I could find a book that will be perfect for my granddaughter who was finishing a semester in Rome. 

My other granddaughter was about to move away to college so a book highlighting her new town would be perfect. I could easily find reading material for my four grandsons. Oh, and I figured I’d donate those books I just cleaned out of a bookcase. I felt my excitement growing as I grabbed my car keys. That festive Christmas feeling was restored.