Christmas came early this year. My younger daughter took me shopping on a Thursday afternoon, and I bought 2/3rds of the gifts for my family and close creators for under $10 each.
An achievement.
I had plans for the balance of the list and this I came very close to doing in one day in the next week.

Then, I sat down, listed these accomplishments and left planning room for wrapping and cards.
The wrapping and cards are important to me. The books had been wrapped at Borders, but the other small gifts needed containers, something to make them look a little bigger!

And then winter stepped in these past days, making even walking from a car a careful matter.
The newscasters said very clearly, “If you don’t have to go out today, stay home!” I watched the weather reports and saw that by Tuesday, Dec. 23rd, it would surely be melted and warm enough to venture out, taking my age and physical condition in account.

So, yesterday I made plans to go out first thing this morning, Dec.
23rd, and look for small woven
baskets, maybe a big mug or large wine glass. ….something to make my small gifts look bigger.
I only had to find six of one sort or another.

These days before Christmas have been full of unexpected phone calls, last minute situations, the usual pre-holiday moments of life. Okay, these only added some zest to being confined inside because of the weather, which in itself has not been anywhere as difficult as say, Concord, New Hampshire, or Portland, Maine. By yesterday afternoon, I was on track with my planning.

Now, in this story , it’s still yesterday. Around 4 p.m., I walked into my warm bathroom to hang some laundry to dry. As I turned to go out, a calendar on the wall caught my eye. I have seen this calendar every day for the past year. It was one of my favorite gifts from last year:
THE ART OF ORNAMENT, from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Some angel must have been at my shoulder, for in that moment, I had found a solution for my “bigger” problem.

As the light was fading, I sat by my window, made pouches of each month’s art assortment from that calendar,
slipped the small gifts in each one, and VOILA ! I HAD FOUND MY CONTAINERS. At this point, yesterday, I was grateful for the inspiration, I liked the results, and I had supper, watched C-SPAN and went to bed.

This morning, Dec. 23rd, I awoke, made coffee, and I glanced at the foot of my bed where my gifts were piled, ready to now add the cards. I stood there in astonishment. Those art pouches were so beautiful.

The end and beginning of this story is that beauty can be found suddenly at hand. I have only to recognize it and allow its presence.


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