Monday, December 5, 2011

Blossoms & Blessings

As the days grow shorter and we head closer to the longest night of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere, I can think of no better way to bring a bit of warmth and cheer to the house than to force a few bulbs.  Above are some paper whites I started last week.  The photo is nearly a week old, so these little guys are now on the verge of blooming as I type this post.  I'll include a photo of their blooms in my next post.  

I try to plant a few bulbs each week, so I'll have several weeks of blooms during the bleakest part of winter.  I've also planted some amaryllis.  As I mentioned in my last post about budget-friendly wrapping ideas, I'm on a tight budget this year, so all my Christmas decorations must be beautiful while costing next to nothing.  At a buck a bulb, or less, paper whites fit the bill for me.  They last days and days, smell beautiful, and you only need a few to make a big splash.  In fact, nothing is lovelier than a single paper white sheltered by a glass hurricane chimney or an "upcycled" jam jar!  You don't even need soil to force paper whites--just a shallow bowl or lipped tray and some water.  Keep the roots (not the bulbs) well watered in indirect sunlight, and you'll have blooms in 2-3 weeks.

I'll be sharing several more ideas for celebrating the holidays on a budget, and I welcome you to share yours here, too!  I loved hearing about your gift wrap ideas in the last post.  Special thanks to my friend Sande, who featured my wrapping post at her exquisite blog, A Gift Wrapped Life.  Sande inspires me every week with her creativity and her eye for beauty, so I was honored that she shared my much more humble efforts on her beautiful site.  

Finally, I know that as special as the holidays are, they can also be a difficult time for many folks.  I've certainly had years when I just wanted to draw the curtains and sleep through Christmas.  If you are having a tough time this year, please know there are always people who care.  The expectations surrounding the winter holidays can just be too much to bear, especially during tough economic times.    This year, some of my friends have been counting their blessings each day on their blogs or on Facebook.  I think rather than expecting so much from myself (or others) this Christmas, I am just going to count my own blessings, and then share some of them with those who have too few to count.            



  1. Counting our blessings is a very good way of celebrating the holidays. I also am including many lights in my house to help with the cheer aspect. Love, love, love paper whites - I took a vase of them to my aunt as she needed something to enjoy in her retirement center. We have two more vases just starting to bloom in our house and they are pure delight.

  2. I am sure that, by now, your paper whites are about to bloom and will give you so much pleasure for not a lot of money Gigi. As they say.....the best things in life are free and I think that is very true.
    We should all count our blessings, as most of us are far better off than many and, even if times are a little tough or things are not going our way, we are still better off than a lot of people.
    Here's to enjoying the beautiful things that are around us and to not worrying about the materialistic ones. XXXX

  3. The expectations surrounding the winter holidays can just be too much to bear, especially during tough economic times. This year, some of my friends have been counting their blessings each day on their blogs or on Facebook.

    Yes, exactly. The holiday season shouldn't be about materialism or pressure to buy expensive gifts or a competition to see who has the most lavish decorations or successful parties. You're alive. There are people and things you love in your life. There's a lot of beauty in the world.

    I hope you have a joyous holiday season.

  4. I love your candor, Gigi. And I love what HKatz said about being alive and having people you love in your life. This is the first Christmas in years that I have actually enjoyed so far. And the reason for it is just that: because I have focused on appreciating the breaths that I take, my kiddos, and trying to notice every beautiful thing about the season whether it belongs to nature, me or someone else, and taking the long nights as an opportunity to get cozy with my family.

    I tell you-- something about your way with words takes my guard down, & I find myself leaving comments here that I hardly say out loud. Your blog has become a little friendly haven to me, I guess. So thanks. :)


  5. This is our first Christmas without Top, it will be hard but all the kids and their babies, big and small, will be together so I guess along with the tears will be much laughter!
    Gifting is my time, be it babysitting, picnic in the park with undivided attention, several baskets of ironing and so on wherever the need might be. This comes with love and doesn't break the tight budget that has now become my life! Gigi we can make Christmas wonderful without cost and it is so good to be back in the blog world I now have a new blog called if you care to visit once again. xx Julienne

  6. That's just exactly what Christmas is about: giving, counting your blessings, making beauty, giving. Oh, I do love you, Gigi.

    How cool! My word verification is "fleur". Awesome!

  7. A lovely caring post, thank you Gigi.
    Vicki xxdedlym

  8. Hello Gigi,
    Please send me your postal address as I have a Christmas decoration to send you... xv


Thank you so much for visiting and for taking the time to leave a comment! I love hearing from you.