Yes, it's something of a struggle to "get in the holiday spirit" this year, when the daily Covid reports (and all the emotional and economic fallout from the pandemic) are so depressing. In my little video, I talk about some of the things that have finally started pulling me back from the brink this week. (I created a special YouTube Covid mask just for you in the photo above. The real link to the video is below.)
You know that I love talking about the "Greater HoonArts Community" and our role as a bridge between Central Asia and the West. Usually, I'm telling you stories about my friends and colleagues in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, or Uzbekistan.
The bridge of cross-cultural understanding goes both ways, however. This week, I'm delighted to be able to share a couple of Christmas-inspired items from one of HoonArts' favorite customers in Albuquerque, Andrea Carvey.
In the photo below, Andrea's dressed in one of her favorite HoonArts handwoven silk ikat kimono jackets, at a NAWBO social gathering in March 2019. You remember those––when we used to get together live and in person in the same place, without masks. And the food is a critical part of the experience, of course!
So sit back and let Andrea's special memories help you find your own holiday spirit. First, take yourself back to the holiday kitchens of your childhood, when your mother or grandmother taught you how to "bake Christmas." Then, laugh out loud with Andrea's "Alternative Christmas Stocking" tale.
CHRISTMAS MEMORIES FROM ANDREA CARVEY
Meema's Pumpkin Pie
Andrea and I are in the same "Master Mind" group in NAWBO (the "National Association of Women Business Owners"). That means we meet twice a month (we moved from a local restaurant to Zoom with Covid) to support each other and keep each other accountable as we all move forward in building our businesses. This Master Mind has been a lifesaver for me this year in so many ways, but mostly for the sense of support, community, and laughter it has brought to a very challenging time.
Andrea has been talking for months now about the book she's working on, based on stories and recipes from her "Meema's" kitchen.
As Andrea explained:
My grandmother would come to live with us in Sacramento, California, from her home in Pennsylvania every winter. So we would have something while she was in Pennsylvania, she wrote down a bunch of her recipes in a 1960 calendar booklet. This is one of the pages. It has her pumpkin pie recipe and Coolidge Custard recipe.
Seeing the word "Meema" reminds me of the names that we had in my family for my grandmothers. We were lucky to have lots of grandmothers who were still alive when I was young, so we had lots of different names to distinguish them: Mama, Ma-Ma (pronounced "Maam-Maw"), Mommy, and Other Mama. And today, with grandchildren in three different families, I have my own different names: I'm "Mimi" with two sets of grandchildren and "Grandma" for the third.
For those who don't live in the US, pumpkin pie is one of our very traditional holiday desserts. In our family, we MUST have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, and it's highly recommended at Christmas.
It turns out that the American pumpkin pie tradition goes back hundreds of years, to colonial days! Apparently, our native pumpkin is very "sweet and dry" compared to the pumpkin in England. I found a wonderful article, "A Brief History of Pumpkin Pie in America" on the Library of Congress website for the true foodies among you.
Try out Meema's recipe if you're the baker in your family. Or better yet, put one of your children or grandchildren "in charge." I'm sure it's delicious and will bring back happy holiday memories of food and family. (I admit, I gave up "real" cooking a few years ago. I'm looking forward to my "curbside pick-up" Christmas dinner this year.)
AN ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS STOCKING TALE
"The Continuing Saga of $20 Socks"
–By Andrea Carvey
As a kid, my parents (who were ever so frugal) would provide us four kids with those hideous, uncomfortable, cotton tube socks that could be purchased for $5 for a bundle of (at least) five pair. They had a seam at the toe that was so awful that I would tuck it under my toes so they wouldn't rub on the tops of them, creating a blister. They had no stretch, so during basketball or volleyball practice, they would bunch up into multiple folds in the most uncomfortable places. If they got wet or damp they were even more horrible, since in addition to everything else, they refrigerated your toes. To make matters even worse, we generally received these gems of the fashion world as Christmas gifts.
Of course, we didn't know it at the time, but there were other options. However, it wasn't until I was an adult and engaged in hiking, archaeological excavations and surveying, that the joys of fabulous socks was gloriously revealed to me. I discovered that not only were there socks that were comfortable, stretchy, cozy, and warm (even when wet), you could purchase some that were actually cute and stylish. I was in heaven! When I first put on a soft, thick, yummy sock, it was like a foot massage. It didn't matter that it cost as much for one pair as it did for a dozen of the others, I was never going back.
Years later, I was visiting my mom and my brother decided to drive up from his home, about a six-hour drive, to visit. Shortly after he arrived, he said that he had to go out to the store to pick up a few things that he'd forgotten. When he returned, he had some deodorant, a toothbrush and...a pack of those repulsive white, cotton tube socks!! I couldn't believe it! I said to him, "I can't believe that you have never experienced the joys of twenty-dollar socks!" He responded, "What are you talking about? Who would buy socks for twenty dollars?" I tried to explain, but nothing could convince him to spend the requisite amount of money for such minor foot ware.
So, when it came time to purchase Christmas presents, guess what I decided must be done? Oh, yes! I went out and shopped for the most wonderful socks I could find. I got four pair (I did get them on sale, so not quite twenty dollars a pair). I got thin, dress socks, thick hiking socks, black socks, colorful socks. I packaged them up and shipped them out to him. When he received them, he called me laughing, but then he tried them on! And he liked them (well, except for the really colorful ones...not acceptable lawyerly attire apparently).
And so, to this day, every year at Christmas I go shopping for socks for my brother...to make sure he never goes back to wearing those awful, white, cotton tube socks.
Shared with permission. ©2020 Andrea Carvey.
About three weeks ago, we launched our “Holiday Hope” program to help support our artisan partners and give the entire HoonArts community a vision of hope for the future in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the key elements of Holiday Hope include:
Every time we change the products in the Holiday Hope Collection, we'll send an email that showcases the new featured products, and the new Holiday Hope Promo Code.
There is no limit to the number of times that you can use your Promo Code, as long as it's still active. The discount is limited to products in stock, and we buy in small quantities (often one-of-a-kind), so things do sell out.
This is an exclusive program for our newsletter subscribers. To participate, and have access to the 30% discount, all you need to do is sign-up when the “pop-up” form appears on our website. You receive your current discount code right away, and more details in our regular email updates.
As of today, December 11, 2020
HOONARTS COMMUNITY GROWTH: 21 new subscribers
HOLIDAY HOPE NET SALES: $300.37
That will feed 4-5 families of 4 for a week in Central Asia. Our customers are already making a real difference! We invite you to join us today.
We wish you all a Very Merry Christmas. We hope you find ways to revisit happy holiday memories from the past and create new joyful memories for the future.
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