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Leon’s here and there’s just six months until Christmas!

June 21, 2015
By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer , Estherville News

Thursday marks six months until Christmas Day, and in recent years crafters have developed a "holiday" they call Leon (Noel spelled backwards.) When I was growing up in Sioux City, my mother, an artist and very visually creative person, would start around now making her yearly Christmas "cards" she sent to her list of 75-100. For the bicentennial, she made George Washington and Betsy Ross in clothespins. She cross-stitched snowflakes and Nativities into mini needlework hoops. She was primarily a decorative painter, talented enough that she taught classes in our basement and at the neighborhood art store. A favorite handout was a scene painted on a wooden sled. I don't have many of her creations as they were given away out of her home after she passed away long ago. I've never been crafty, at all, and I struggle to create something from the heart for my loved ones at Christmas.

Also, let's face it. Before I found out about Leon today I have never had it in me to plan a gift six months in advance. Maybe Leon has provided an opportunity to do just that. My kids have enough devices, books, games and other diversions, My other loved ones have, inconsistently, received cards, books, ornaments and jewelry I thought they'd like and I hope they did.

My mother taught me that a Christmas list should be not a list for Santa Claus, but a list of gifts I want to give. What if we all started on Leon to consider the people in our lives and decide what we can give from our hearts to make their lives richer, happier, better.

Forget spending lots of money, though maybe you spend some. Forget the catalogs or Amazon or any major merchant.

If I was making the other kind of list, things I'd want for me, I might ask for time to go out to eat with friends, an invitation to dinner or a party with friends, a trip to the Lake to just dip our toes in the water and talk, people who like acting and theater to sit around some night with eats and drinks and read the parts in my stage play. A partner to go running or swim laps together to get me out from my desk to actually move around a little.

I have a list of great things I want to do for my family members and other loved ones, too. What if we did that this Christmas? We have lots of time to plan. Do you need another drink coozie with the logo of your favorite team? Another sweatshirt, another DVD, another thing you plug in? Can we take this momentous day of Leon and work a little bit each week between now and Christmas to come up with genuine, heartfelt, experiential gifts for one another?



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