By: Mary Fran Bontempo


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A lovely table top tree crafted when I was insane.

I used to be so crafty. Not in the like a fox way, in the Martha Stewart way.

Back when I was stuck at home with little ones, or, to be more politically correct, when I was embracing the opportunity to care for my children and “nest”at home, I was a crafting maniac, especially at Christmas.

I made centerpieces, wreaths, baked goodies and elaborately decorated gingerbread houses. I took plain store bought garlands and festooned them with Christmas balls, lights and ribbons. I even wrapped gifts in color-coordinated paper and bows.

In short, I was insane.

After some distance from those years, I’m more convinced than ever that young mothers turn to crafting to keep from losing their minds while at home, which is kind of an oxymoron, as being surrounded by glue guns, pine cones, sequins and raffia bows hardly delivers a message of stability.

Yet most of the time, my efforts turned out okay, and I’m actually still using some of the items I made long ago, like the decorated garlands that adorn the book case, fireplace mantle and stairs. Of course I’m still using them because the thought of making new ones makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and buying new ones pre-decorated would wipe out my gift budget, but that’s beside the point. I am using them.

There have also been screw-ups, as when I made a gorgeous wreath by gluing pine cones I gathered from our yard on a wire form and adding assorted bows and Christmas balls (I told you I was deranged) and then stored it in the attic through the summer, which caused all the glue to melt and the pine cones to fall off. ($&@%*# pine cones!)

I haven’t indulged my inner craft goddess in some time, so while I was sitting in a doctor’s office this morning,waiting for my daughter to be checked out for a nasty cold, I picked up a copy of the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, which, of course, was replete with ideas for crafting the perfect Christmas.

I thought about inviting friends for a “casual afternoon of wreath crafting,” and then I looked at the stuff I’d have to assemble to make the damn things, not to mention the fact that my friends would have slapped me silly if I’d dared to suggest such an enterprise. Pass.

Next, I considered “tying pine cones to branches with jute twine to spruce up live evergreens,” and then I realized that live evergreens have their own pine cones and didn’t need me tying extra ones on them. Two down.

Finally, I checked out the recipes for the 25 sweets offered–one for each day of December leading up to the big day–and noticed that the very first one required one hour and fifty minutes of prep time! Um…no.

Instead, on the way home, when Megan and I stopped at Walmart to pick up her prescriptions, I snagged some lovely evergreen wreaths for $7.98 each, along with a pine cone decorated miniature tree for under ten bucks and a container of frosted cookies for $3.98. (Walmart loves the ninety-eight cent thing.)

Yeah, yeah, I’m contributing to the ruination of the planet by shopping at Walmart, I know. But in one twenty minute outing, I pulled together a Christmas that cost next to nothing monetarily and even less in aggravation. Better yet, no glue gun was required.

Thanks for the virtual crafting experience, Better Homes and Gardens. I really enjoyed it. Especially because I didn’t do any of it.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]