Often, On Christmas


On Christmas

by Marion Strobel

Often, on Christmas,
I listen to a chant
Float from a colored window
Softly sibilant.

Often, on Christmas,
I wait until a glow
From a colored pane of glass
Slides across the snow.

Yet though I hear songs,
And listen from without,
I never quite know what
Christmas is about.

I never quite know –
Till, singing on my breast
And warm as a colored light,
Your head is at rest.

The idea of gift making rather than gift buying is something I wish we could wrestle away from the marketing blitz of advertising.  I received several very thoughtful gifts this year as well, all of which I am thankful but the gift that stands out is the one hand made gift.  My father made his gift for me again this year and I will always treasure it.  It is a pair of walnut wooden tongs that is brilliant in the simplicity and elegance of its design.  It is light weight, durable, functions perfectly and stores flat and easily.  I will think of him every time I use them to make bacon, serve a salad, fish out pickles and olives from a jar and admire them on my counter top.   In addition he wrote me a poem, which is brilliant in its wit and clever rhymes.  I shall maybe share it on Fourteen Lines sometime this winter.

When I was growing up, for months leading up to Christmas, I could hear my Mother sewing on her sewing machine.  Sewing clothes for all of us to wear to holiday gatherings and Church, sewing dresses for herself, sewing doll clothes for favorite dolls of my sister’s given in previous Christmases, as well as a small wardrobe of clothes for any new dolls that Santa might bring.   It was common that doll’s would receive new outfits in the left over scraps of the things that were sewn up for one of us, such that the doll would continue to wear that outfit long after we had grown out of ours.   She would mix and match scraps, with some of the fabric used to make my clothes showing up in doll clothes.

To keep this impressive production going meant many trips to the fabric store and what we called the five and dime store (Ben Franklin) and with it, opportunities to pick out that year’s ornament tree ornament kits that my sister’s and I would turn into new decorations for our own tree as well as gifts to give Grandparents and others.  There were endless kits back in those days, but lots of silk covered foam balls with a bag full of pearl handled long pins and beads of all different shapes and colors that you could thread onto the pin and then attach various pieces of sparkly sequins, beads, braided gold or silver cord or trinkets.  There was usually a several page instruction manual and these were no small undertakings to sort out all the items in the kit and then assemble them.  It would keep us busy for days. The kits were good training on how to keep yourself occupied and also how to organize your time as if the plan was to make 2 or 3 as gifts and each one took several days on weekends or evenings to make, you had to be a little disciplined in moving the projects forward in the weeks leading up to Christmas to get them all done.  The kits were a way to keep us occupied as my Mother did all the things she had to do to get ready for the holidays.  Once we were grown, probably half of my Mother and Father’s Christmas tree ornaments consisted of things we had made as kids.

This year I decided to do some paper arts as gifts, making folded paper hearts and a variation where the folded hearts were wings of an angel and gave them out as decorations.    Do you have a favorite hand made gift from this year or year’s past? What hand made gifts are part of your holiday traditions?

My Offerings

by Marion Strobel

Now that I am bringing you
Dolls of wool, and dolls of tin,
Dolls that squeak when you press in,
Rattles that you shake, or chew,

Now that toys are on your bed –
All the new ones and the old,
And the ones you like to scold,
And those to be comforted –

Now, that you are holding things
That I bring, and carefully
Breaking them – it seems to me
You approve my offerings!

Published by

A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations. I am pleased to offer Fourteenlines as an ad and cookie free poetry resource, to allow the poetry to be presented on its own without distractions. Fourteenlines is a testament to the power of the written word, for anyone wanting a little more poetry in their life.

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