All right! Don’t panic! It is just the credit card bill, another piece of paper with a few numbers in it. How can some figures scare me like this? I am sure I am stronger to look at it. I stared at the weeping woman on television, trying to make up my mind to open the envelope. Don’t panic! I commanded myself for the hundredth time.
It cannot be gigantic; I can guess the value easily. It will be roughly around Rs. 4,500 or maximum Rs.5,000. I closed my eyes and tried to total the values in my head. I bought my mother a saree as a Christmas present for Rs. 3,000.
It was on sale! How can I ignore that opportunity? It was the best buy after all! Then I bought myself a designer dress for Rs. 5,000. I should buy a Christmas present for myself too, as a reward for spending a great year. I deserve it! All that adds up to...ummm...how much? Rs. 13,000? No! I must have miscalculated.
“Is everything ok?” Shyamali looked at my desperate face through her reading glasses.
“Ya...umm...everything’s fine..” I stammered.
“But, you don’t seem fine. What is on your table? Your credit card bill?” she queried while inspecting my cluttered table.
I hate it when she becomes nosy like this. To stop further inquiries I grabbed the envelope and tore one end revealing the white thick papers in it. I opened the bill. It was two full pages with all black lettering.
“The bank must have done a mistake. I didn’t buy this much!” I muttered.
“Oh! Knowing you, I doubt that. Let me see!” Shyamali snatched the bill from me.
“Oh my! The business crowd must be in love with you, what are all these?”
“It’s just nothing! I did Christmas shopping,” I was innocent, and my voice displayed it.
After all, it is the season of gifting. To avoid last minute rush I did my Christmas shopping early this time.
“Those are inevitable,” I tried to justify.
“But, I thought you were in a financial crisis! With all that, why do you spend so much? See here, you have spent Rs. 4,000 only on Christmas cards.”
“Yes. That was essential. I have to send Christmas cards to my friends and relatives. Else they will think that I neglected them.”
“Yes that’s true! However, if you wanted, you could have made nicer cards by spending way less than this. What do you need, just some boards, colour papers, colour pencils and some materials to decorate the card, like glitter and stars right? I do not have to say how to make it, you know it only too well. Something like that has a value addition also than just buying a card.”
“I agree,” I nodded in silence.
“What’s next? Hey, you have spent a lot of Christmas ornaments too. Again you could have made those at home.”
“How can I make Christmas ornaments? We always buy those.”
“No. Look at this. I found these craft ideas in a paper sometime ago. I have tried those. These ideas will help you save a lot of money,” she said while giving me a yellowish old piece of paper.
“Hey, it’s time for me to go. See you later then,” she grinned and waved.
“She is right! They look simple and a lot fun too. In vain, it is too late for this Christmas. May be for the next year then”, I thought with a sigh and waved her back.
Cat tree ornament
Wooden craft spoons
White card stock
Fine-point permanent marker
Green tissue paper
Red beads or glitter
1. To make each one, first coat a wooden craft spoon with acrylic paint. Paint a patch of the same shade on to a piece of white card stock and let the paints dry.
2. Cut a half-inch square from the card stock, then cut the square in half diagonally and glue the two triangles to the top of the spoon for ears. For a tail, curl a 6-inch piece of pipe cleaner and glue it to the back of the spoon
3. Glue on black seed beads for eyes and draw a face with a fine-point permanent marker. Add a holly collar by twisting two or three one-inch squares of green tissue paper around the tip of a pencil, then glue them in place, adding a few tiny red beads or glitter for berries. Glue on more beads for buttons
4. Make a hanger by tying a piece of string into a loop and gluing the knot to the back of the spoon. Let all the glue dry before hanging
Cookie cutters (choose shapes that can stand up)
Honeycomb wax sheets in various colours
1. For each candle, use a cookie cutter to make 10 identical shapes from the wax sheets. Divide the shapes into two stacks of five
2. Sandwich a wick between the two stacks, starting at the bottom, and extending it beyond the top by at least an inch. Press the sheets together gently.
If they do not stick together, take the wax layers apart and use a hair dryer to gently warm each one before restacking them, adding the wick as instructed above.
3. Trim the wick to about a half-inch. Stand your candle up, shaping the base as needed to make it sit securely