Keeping Christmas

     We can all see the Christmas shopping season is in full swing. I remember when we complained if stores put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. Nowadays, the "holiday" trees are in place before Halloween! And, please tell me, how stupid is it to forbid calling that decorated evergreen tree a "Christmas" tree? Yes, this is a season of many holidays, but that particular tree is a Christmas tree, just as that particular candelabra is a Menorah. Political Correctness has become a parody of itself.
     The hideous commercialism of what was once the sweetest of all holidays, is now extended to the internet.  If I had received one more "Cyber Monday" e-mail, I surely would have pulled my hair out and screamed in disgust. I don't care about having "Today Only!" to buy something I don't need, don't want, and have no desire to give as a gift.  
     I think Christmas has been saved, at least for me and 44,000+ others, by taking the Handmade Pledge. When I buy something made by hand, I feel good.  Something made by hand is a special gift to give to someone I care about. It is also a special gift to receive. I'm not talking about hand knit toilet paper covers and the like. I am talking about the beautiful objects that one can't get any other way but from fine craftsmen. Sometimes these objects are  functional, sometimes not; they are always works of art, in my eyes. Not only do I enjoy these items, I also like the fact that I am supporting my fellow artisans. Most of us are true small businesses!   

     I do make a few exceptions. I love books and they are included on my "approved" list, as are antique and vintage items (which often, but not always, are made by hand). In a pinch, finding myself in last-minute need of a gift for a child, I'll travel to a nearby store which specializes in stocking old-fashioned toys. So, I'm not a fanatic.  But I do, more and more often, find that I am buying things for myself and others from Etsy and BigCartel. I'd like to also support craft fairs, but I am a true homebody and often lack the oomph required to brave the crowds.  
      So, that's how I plan to keep Christmas sweet. Ironic, really, that shopping by computer is going to make the holiday more precious and old-fashioned than if I were to shop in the brick and mortar stores. I hasten to add that there are brick and mortar stores which have wonderful handmade items, recycled whimsies and beautiful antiques. I'm not saying that the internet is the only way to go - but, it is a wonderful resource.
     My other pledge is straight from Charles Dickens:

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."