Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

St.Pierre Style Christmas

Christmas Day at Memere and Pepere St.Pierre’s was always special.
A three bedroom farm house is barely the place to raise thirteen children, but when those children get married (equaling twenty-five adults. I can do math, not all are married.), and most of those children have children (I have fifty-six cousins), it’s just a recipe for holiday chaos.
Obviously, some elbows get thrown for food. Being little, I always had some help from the bigger cousins. A spot to sit was more of a commodity, and I’m not talking about a chair, I’m talking about a place on the floor.
Presents, we all got one. For the grown-ups, a scratch or lottery ticket or a card with five dollars, for the kids, we always had one present.
What I miss that I cannot believe was lost in one generation is the process of opening these.
If you have ever been the recipient of a present from me, the giving goes like this, “Oh, Hillary. Thank you so much. I really like it.”
Then I say, “Great, I’m so glad you do. . . . .Are you going to use that packaging, because I recycle and if you’re not I want the bag/wrapping/ribbon/bow/tissue paper back.”
This is a compulsion I can’t stop. I don’t care who you are, we’re not about to waste some perfectly good wrapping by throwing it in the garbage. I don’t care if it is less than a dollar.
It doesn’t even matter how rich or powerful you are. You could have millions, but I would still like to save my dollar.
By now, my friends open the presents, take what I’ve given them, and immediately give the wrapping back.
I physically cringe if this doesn’t happen. Sometimes, I can keep myself quiet if it is not my place to speak up.
This started with my St.Pierre family. We could reuse the same paper for years. I forget what the record was. I would have to ask. It was a game.
This was born of necessity, my grandparents were poor, but there was also the aspect of not wasting a product that was still perfectly good. I thought this was great fun.
I don’t see this happening today. I don’t understand why. What my grandparents did when they started having children in the 40s was lost among most people by the 90s.
Now, it is coming back.
I recycle wrapping. I wrap in fabric or the pashmina scarves I give as presents.
I wrap in newspaper still. I love to wrap in newspaper in different languages (Chinese or Arabic) and tie it with ribbon. This is cheap and stylish. I used to grab these out of the recycling bins in NY or ask the men on the train who were done reading them. Often this was difficult to do, since these men barely speak English and the requests are kind of weird.
Remember, we are talking about me here.
I don’t know why this art has been lost. It is an art.
I have vintage silk scarves that people give to me at estate sales, because it is lost on them what to do with a piece of history from a person who has passed. I tie up presents with these. I make them look like a bag. It is free vintage wrapping and equals two presents in one. I have a drawer full of these, all free.
I think this is fun. I feel like a broke Martha Stewart. You’d be amazed what I could do with just about nothing.
Check out for more ideas. This will all work for birthdays to.
If you have never wrapped and given a child under two bubble wrap or Styrofoam “popcorn” packaging as a present, you may not understand me. A little creativity goes along way. Kids will accept a decorated box as a house or a rocket to play in, and this is just about free. Poor does not have to equal disadvantaged. It just requires a whole lot of creativity.

As for adult presents, I have made my own aromotherapy candles and poured them in free mason jars. It's very easy and cheap to buy oils, wax, and wicks. I have also made wine and bottled them in vintage bottles from thrift stores or that I've dug up on my property (obviously, they have gone through and EXTREME germa-phobic cleaning process).
Have fun with what you have. Everybody, everywhere, count your blessings today. Believe it or not, you do have blessings.

Just to make something clear to some of my family, and you know who you are, just because the wrapping is reycled does not mean the present is!

Now, I'm going to go back to napping like I am supposed to be.


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, Hillary!!!


Dani said...

I do the same thing Hill.. I hear you, I only wish others would too. MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!!!!!

luv ya,