Christmas in the Country

Move to the country. You’ll find people gift each other food much more often than trinkets during the holiday season. There are two reasons for that. The gift giver is strapped for cash and the gift receiver is strapped for cash. When you live paycheck to paycheck and theres always some new expense or repair needed you don’t dream of candles, bath bombs, jewelry, or decorative towel racks. You need useful things like long underwear, socks, tools, home depot gift cards, and above all…food. It is such a common thing to get a grocery store gift card for Christmas from employers, friends, and family out here, and that’s not because people couldn’t think of something personal to get for a loved one. Its because they know what people around here need. You give someone the gift of food and you give them joy and peace of mind. They’re not going to have to worry about how to obtain enough of it this month. This Christmas season has my heart so full and my mind taking a rest. My entire family, blood related and adopted, got me food for Christmas, my neighbor gifted me the last herbs from her garden before the hard freeze we had, my co-worker gave me two ziploc freezer bags just stuffed full of beautiful swiss chard from her garden before she left to visit family on Christmas vacation. The company i work for gifted all the employees a grocery store gift card and my Friday fellowship group let me take home all the leftover mandarins from the potluck. Several friends and coworkers made home-made sweets and candies. One person even made hot chocolate mix. I cant have dairy and dont eat refined sugar so i regifted these items to people i knew would enjoy them. I was immediately ecstatic when i received them because i knew i would have something tasty to offer others i knew. All my friends know about my food allergies and were happy to stand in and enjoy the handmade candies and hot cocoa mix on my behalf. One friend gave me one of the pears her son had sent her a box of. When she received the box she gave one to each of her friends and kept a few for herself. I made gift bags for people containing the pecans my neighbors gifted me earlier in the year from their trees and brought them cuttings of rosemary from before the arctic weather killed my rosemary plants. I cannot tell you the joy my heart fills with when someone hands me food or herbs from their garden and says “Merry Christmas”. It is such a treat to get food for the household that you didn’t have to spend an arm and a leg buying. It also allows me to give to others even when im strapped for cash. I already had rosemary and pecans. I didnt have to go out and spend money to get them, but for someone without pecan trees and rosemary, they can now eat nuts and make mosquito repellant. Out here Christmas is a season of sharing and making sure everyone is well fed.

I cooked the swiss chard my coworker gave me with a bit of olive oil, onion salt, a dash of garlic, and a pinch of smoked paprika. I put them over brown rice. They were so beautiful and buttery. What a gift!! Especially because the grass hoppers in the town i live in are so plentiful you cant have a garden.

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