Christmas · Coronavirus · family · My Thoughts

Christmas Shopping During the Pandemic?

Christmas Shopping the way it used to be!

Christmas Shopping Coronavirus-Style, has it been different for you? In New Mexico, we have restrictions limiting the number of people in a store, so if I do go shopping, I have to wait in the queue outside in the cold. I have to be near people who could be infected and so far, my husband, Lin, and I have been spared from this virus. So, for me, the answer is simple—stay home and shop online!

Over the last few years, I’ve bought many gifts online whether for my husband, my brother or the rest of my family, so I’m not new to this concept. One holiday tradition I’ve loved though is going to Old Town Albuquerque for regional gifts. I won’t be doing that this year.

So, for this year’s Christmas shopping, I’ve ordered online 99%. I did buy one gift while at Walmart this week.

Calendar - Christmas Shopping
Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels

When thinking about Christmas gifts, I love making them and have done it for years whether it was a hand-knitted garment or a photo gift. This year I have had to cancel my favorite gift I have given my family for 23 years—a family calendar featuring photos from the previous year. We weren’t together in 2020, so I have none. Also, recently, I’ve had an eye problem with blurry vision which would make this project difficult, so no Horner Family Calendar 2021!

Here’s where the calendar idea came from! A couple years after my Dad died one of my team teachers, Rebecca Betzen, connected with my mom, wanting twelve pictures from my life. That was a sad Christmas, missing Dad, so Mom and I flew to California to spend the holiday with my brother and his family. Rebecca had been specific, “Don’t open my gift until Christmas Day,” so I did!

What a surprise! Mom had selected a variety of pictures from my childhood all the way up to my graduation dinner for my masters’ degree! Several pictures highlighted favorites posts on our family ranch.

This project thrilled me so much, I decided to do one the next year for Mom and me. We took a memorable trip to Eastern Europe, so I featured that trip in my first calendar. My ex-husband loved it so much, I made one for his family the next year, continuing the whole time we were together.

When we were just doing three or four, my ex and I printed the calendars ourselves. It was quite a job, but we mastered the process. When the number of calendars increased, I decided to outsource them to OfficeMax, and they have always done a great job!

At first, I put one picture on the page above the month, but after a few years and a large array of pictures to choose from, I created a collage of several pictures for each page and tried to highlight different people on each page. The time-consuming part was going through all of my photos and selecting which ones to use.

I first added my brother to the list of recipients, and the list has grown over the years. Last year I gave calendars to thirteen family members.

Several years when I first gave a calendar to my Aunt Willie, my Mom’s sister, I laughed at her response. I asked her if she liked it, and she answered, “Yes, especially November.” I spotlighted pictures of her on the November page because that was her birthday month.

So, yes, I take lots of pictures anytime we’re together as a family, and my family has come to understand that.

Horner Calendar 2011 Cover
Cover for Horner Calendar 2012

Each year I highlight whoever has shown that year like graduations or weddings. If a family member died the previous year, I featured him or her on the cover. I also highlighted our family ranch on the cover of some calendars. My second cousin married in England in 2017, and Lin and I attended, with me taking lots of pictures. Her new husband said, “I bet we make the calendar next year!” And they did!

A page from a calendar - Christmas Shopping
Photo Collage from 2020 Calendar

My joy came when my family members opened this gift and leafed through the pages, laughing at certain pictures and make heartfelt remarks. These calendars have become a historic family document of our year together.

So, Christmas shopping did change in 2020, but I’ve stayed focused on the joy and celebration of this precious holiday.

How has your Christmas shopping changed this year? What have you done differently?


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Cover for Just Another Square Dance Caller

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6 thoughts on “Christmas Shopping During the Pandemic?

  1. Good morning Larada. I got tears reading about your calendars. What a blessing to everyone who got them and what a blessing to me to read about it!

    My brother Fred got married in Tombstone at the OK corral. We had an article printed in the old town newspaper. They got married by shotgun! Then we had the small reception in the Crystal Palace Saloon. At the end I made photo albums for everyone including those who did not attend. That was fun. The marriage didn’t take but I am still friends with both of my brothers ex wives.

    This Christmas has been different because I have no desire to go shopping except online, also, for the first time I bought gifts for my team of teachers. I really miss them. I love teaching at home but I miss the comradery and the way we share the good things that happened during the day.

    This year I got books again for my children and mom wrapped all of them! She has been like the energy bunny trying to decorate and do everything. While I am trying to stay focused on writing the lesson plan for next month (we have to make the whole month plan and do the prep the month before.) I have two other responsibilities I am behind on that are haunting me when I wake in the mornings. So I am not too focused on Christmas decorating.

    We are doing Advent together this year. Mom is also very much behind this. She doesn’t understand Advent and wants to know what it is. We are using a Jesse Tree and a book that go together. I also stamped small bags with the numbers to put the ornaments inside, It was one of two outside activities since the pandemic.

    Saving the rest for our phone call. Love you Larada.

  2. Good morning dear one,

    Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate it.

    Yes, the pandemic has so altered so many Christmas plans.

    I’m sure your family appreciated the book you made & that kind of project blesses the giver as much as the receiver.

    I look forward to our talk!

    Love,
    Larada

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