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Simple gifts

Making ordinary days special

by Jeannie MacDonald  |  1233 views  |  0 comments  |        Rate this now! 

I think it’s time we all started using “the good china” on March 4th or June 27th, not just on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Sure, it makes no sense to serve Tater Tots and fish sticks on your grandmother’s Limoges, but that’s exactly the point.

The larger question here is: Why do we wait for “special occasions” to do special things?

While living in L.A., my boyfriend-at-the-time and I were invited to a friend’s house for dinner. As we arrived, our host and his wife greeted us with champagne flutes.

“What’s the occasion?” we asked, as if sipping champagne on a non-holiday was a violation of federal law. “You’re here!” they replied.

Naturally, I shamelessly swiped their idea. Now, my husband John and I always have champagne chilling for dinner guests, and it never fails to get a surprised-but-delighted reaction. We’re not talking Cristal, either. Reasonably priced bubbly tickles your nose as well as Veuve Cliquot.

After all, most of our lives are lived in the smaller moments (like driving the kids to band or reading Goodnight Moon), not the big events (like weddings or births). By celebrating the little things, we give ourselves a built-in antidote to boredom: there’s always something to look forward to, even with the most mundane tasks.

If I have to get a blood test, I’ll reward myself with a drive-by cappuccino on the way home. After the dentist, a coffee-Oreo cookie ice cream cone isn’t just crave-worthy, it’s mandatory. Heck, my mother and I book back-to-back annual gyno exams so we can have an excuse to go out to breakfast afterwards.

Why not enjoy life at every possible opportunity? I’m not saying you should go around in clown makeup, ambushing people with cupcakes. But neither should you over-schedule yourself so much that your week has all the “spontaneity” of a NASA launch.

I love my neighbor Lynn’s idea: she created a “floating holiday” when she takes her daughter out of school one day every year so they can shop and do lunch. Call me crazy, but isn’t stuff like this where happy childhood memories come from?

Try doing something totally unexpected. Years ago, while waiting for-ev-er to get into a small restaurant with three friends, I was feeling cranky and so was everyone else in line. I walked across the street, bought a baseball bat-sized baguette and passed it around. It broke the tension and silenced the growling stomachs. Once inside, a grateful party sent over a glass of wine to thank me. Communal carbs rock!

So go ahead. Eat cake for your half-year birthday. Send your sister flowers for no reason. And for heaven’s sake, liberate the good china from its captivity in your cabinet… tonight!

About the Author

Jeannie MacDonald is a freelance writer, wife, and mother of one, who lives on the New Hampshire seacoast.

Read more by Jeannie MacDonald

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