The Marshmallow Rule
Dec. 13, 2011 9:00 pm
Updated: Mar. 23, 2012 4:03 pm
Since the fall began, I feel like I have been visited by the ghost of holidays past. Reaching into the memory vault pullling out this and that holiday to revisit like photographs from an old dusty album. I found myself sifting through the memories looking
to see which holiday was a favored remembrance and what made it so. The people? The food? The presents? Watching how time had changed my perceptions of what was needed to make the day one to be later savored. I must tell you that the last 2 holidays of year's
end are my favorites, Thanksgiving and Christmas. New Year's Eve isn't included since to me it is tied so closely to the beginning of the New Year. Perhaps I've pondered so deeply because this year would be so different for the DH and me. For once, it has
been just us. After having gotten though Thanksgiving, I can definitely state cooking all the "must haves" takes just as much time for two as it does for 15-20.
So what does the "Marshmallow Rule" have to do with the holidays? I hadn't thought of the old battered sign for quite some time. It bubbled up in my memory after watching the news. Prodded to the surface by the story of a customer who pepper sprayed others
while shopping for the deals of the season. That night I was trying to figure out what could possibly be so important to purchase for Christmas that hurting others was necessary to get it. If I thought that was bad, I saw a much worse story later. I'm not
sure where this was but a woman left her little kids in the car to go shopping. Trying to grab some of those "big deals" it would seem. The youngest child was one, I believe. It was dark and the kids were cold and scared. A gentleman that was interviewed about
the incident put it very well, "Ain't nothing in that store worth your kids!" No kidding! Probably both ladies needed to read this old rule before the season began.
When did such frenzied consumption of produced products become the norm, necessitating camping out no matter the weather to secure a place in line to purchase those sought after possessions? Toys of all kinds and TV's seemed to be front-runners of the giant
sales this year that started when I was going to bed and continuing when I certainly wasn't gettting out of bed. This "I MUST & WILL have THAT for me or my child" attitude isn't really a recent trend. I recall seeing mothers mob the stores for those little
kids from the patch roughly 25 years ago. Yikes! Has it been that long since they came out?
Don't get me wrong, I like presents. I like shopping for them. I like wrapping them. I like giving them and I like receiving them. I like everything from fun and thoughtful to eatable and drinkable to useful and practical gifts. I also understand the fundamental
drive of economics. A consumer purchasing products gives a manufacturer an outlet for their goods. Sometimes a supplier is needed in the process allowing access to those goods. So both supplier and manufacturer are creating jobs for people. This does keep
the whole cycle going. Some get more, some get less but if the cycle is broken, no one wins. And yes, my DH has gone out in the wee morning hours on Black Friday to purchase and item, not as a present but a necessity at that time. Eight years ago, I needed
a TV. Not wanted, needed one to play the home schooling DVDs on.
Yep, I started home schooling my then grade-schooler during the holiday season. Not something for the faint of heart to be sure but I felt it was the best thing to do. During one particular session, the "Marshmallow Rule" came into being. Granted I was trying
to combine homework from several classes with it. I was also trying to give a small Life lesson at the same time. Multitasking at its best! And yes, I did finally notice the spelling error. Kindly ignore it.
First, I'd like to share some bits and pieces of our holiday cheer. The early years in this house didn't allow for extravagant spending much less lavish decorations or food. In fact, our first tree was quite the "Charlie Brown" type, put too much on and over
it would fall. It's good for one string of lights, some candy canes and tinsel. Feeling nostalgic, I chose to put it up again.
It isn't so bad looking and it was even made in the USA. Pippin's been delighting in knocking off the canes. I believe it is payback for the next photo. See that little figurine with him? My Mom gave what she called white elephant presents for Christmas the
year my dad died. She said she wanted us to remember what was important about this time of year. That was my gift from the thrift store 18 years ago. She also had oranges and hard candy for table decorations. She said when she was a girl to get either or both
were a big deal for Christmas.
Long before it dwindled to just us two, it had been my turn to host the mandatory family fun Christmas get together. I say mandatory because getting this branch together was like pulling hen's teeth. Either some had way too many commitments for the same day
yet felt compelled to show for lunch then leave the table still chewing or some acted like they really didn't care to get together. I began suspecting the latter when it took 2 and 1/2 hours of serious debate to attempt to forestall any more complaints about
who should host the next gathering and exactly when. Anyway, a relative quite admired my wreaths and asked how I'd managed the creations. I think she wanted to know how much I'd spent on them. She didn't quite believe me when I said, "with weeds." Yep, on
a budget weeds can be turned into something quite pretty. Sometimes, you just have to see the beauty in the smallest and oddest of things and figure out how to make them useful.
That particular ability of mine is probably how I managed to think the "Marshmallow Rule" up in the first place but as you read it you might see why I've been thinking about it these last few weeks. The hustling bustle of the holiday season sometimes overshadows
the simply important things in life.
( Not all things in Life must be expensive or complicated. Sometimes the simplest things, such as a roasted marshmallow, can delight the senses and brighten a cloudy day. ) The lesson, to teach a little boy penmanship, how to
write about something he knew and that sometimes something as simple as a roasted marshmallow can put a smile on your face.
Health. Food. Safe warm homes. Family. And if you don't have family, very good friends. An income so you can provide some of those things. Compared to the latest toy or gadget those things are pretty important to me. As for gifts here this year, they're going
to be on the simple side. Then again, who can resist the perfect cup of cocoa with homemade marshmallows and a toasted s'more?
And that is my simple gift to all of you since you can't drop in and share them here.
My favorite recipes for hot chocolate and home made marshmallows.
Also the wish that each and everyone of you have very Merry Christmas and a safe Happy New Year!