Talking about Xmas. Yikes! It's upon us!

For me ... not a problem. I have been a 'Commercially Free Xmas Zone' for years. All of my friends and family know this and respect me for it. It was a little tough to begin with but a few years ago it was something that simply had to happen – I couldn't afford Xmas as it was. Now a lot of my friends and family embrace the idea and the creative ways they think of to get around the no commercialism bit astounds me.

Don't get me wrong. I celebrate Xmas. I overeat, I drink too much, and I indulge in lazy days visiting and lazy days having visitors. Middelmost is decked out with festive cheer, goodies overflow, the animals are spoilt, etc., etc. It just doesn't cost me much. I simply can't afford it.

The older folk are easy. Something from the garden, a pot of relish/chutney/pickle, a jar of jam/fruit compote/marmalade, a bottle of blackcurrant liqueur or elderberry wine nestled in a basket of straw along with two crystal glasses from the local op shop ... endless possibilities.

The kids can be tricky but this year I have it sorted. The smaller grandies are getting a playdough kit. I am going to make up parcels with the playdough recipe and little containers of each ingredient needed inside. Hopefully, as the adults slide into the after-dinner snooze, the little ones will have something to do to keep them occupied and entertained for a wee while. For the older kids I have potted up a heap of swan plants and I am certain that by Xmas there will be several tall enough to become gifts. If I am lucky, some of them may even have butterflies attached.

My cards, this year, will be large leaves with a greeting written on them using a gold glitter pen and I will tie a tiny bunch of lavender flowers to them for added panache.

My gifts are simple, easy to create, and cost-effective but never cheap. Anything made with love thought and care is not cheap as these commodities are some of the rarest on earth.