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My Imaginary Christmas Barrel




I'm a big weirdo ... no shock to anyone reading here, I'm sure.

Sometimes when I'm cleaning or doing laundry I look at my things and think, "Would I be happy if this was sent to me in Reverend Alden's Christmas barrel?"

Those of you LHOP fans surely remember in The Long Winter when they finally got their Christmas barrel* in May they were thrilled with it's contents after a winter of such deprivation had I been alive and in those circumstances your children would know my name for my whining would gone down through the ages as a cautionary tale.

I don't even remember what was in there besides some embroidery thread, a shawl for Ma?  And a frozen turkey.

I remember as a little girl telling my mom it was terrible they wasted present space on food ... much like it was a waste when kids used to get fruit and nuts in their Christmas stockings when they can just go in the kitchen for those.  Don't worry, she schooled my privileged little ass on food scarcity.

But back to my current weirdness ... so I was folding sheets and blankets today and thinking of how lovely they would have been to receive in a Christmas barrel.  How soft they are, how back in the 1800's the variety of color and patterns on my bed linens would have been remarkable.  Like the Ingalls I had people also settling the prairie in the day and luxuries were scarce at that time.

It made me grateful for what I have.  I did the same with my cookware, books, and toiletries.  

Based on nothing I think my ancestors would have most appreciated body wash and other personal care items, indoor plumbing, and terry cloth.  

That's a tragedy of the prairie no one speaks about ... even when you could get the rare proper bath there was nothing absorbent with which to dry off.  And all their moisturizers were made with animal fat.  I have dry skin and I am so thankful I never had to choose between turning into buff jerky or smelling like old pot roast.

I think St. Ives coconut body lotion in a Christmas barrel would have seemed like a miracle.

And toe nail clippers.  When were they invented?  What did they do before them?  We take so much for granted in our day to day lives.

And Crest toothpaste ... and mouthwash.  Along with a fresh new toothbrush would be a delightful treat in my barrel for 19th century fictional me.

I sometimes think of how cool it would be to get a time machine and bring some of my great-whatever-grandma's from that era and see what they'd think of life today.  But then once they see how easy it is to do laundry and shower they'll never go back and once the novelty wore off it would just be a bunch of strangers asking me why I never speak to my cousins.

*This barrel left such an impact on me I kept capitalizing it and had to go back and fix every time.   Stupid self important container.

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Maggie Mae


There is a Wikipedia article about the history of nail clippers. I think it makes me even weirder, because I read your entry and was like "I need to know this information" 

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4 minutes ago, Maggie Mae said:

There is a Wikipedia article about the history of nail clippers. I think it makes me even weirder, because I read your entry and was like "I need to know this information" 

From that article:


The Book of Deuteronomy exhorts in 21:12 that a man, should he wish to take a captive as a wife, "shall bring her home to [his] house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails". 

Try to shave my head he'd better be wearing a cup

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I love the idea of a christmas barrel. I can’t articulate what holds me captivated but it’s strong. I want to incorporate this into my holiday gift giving somehow. Maybe for a women’s shelter or something. Or one for the Humane Society. I don’t like shopping for myself but shopping for others is fun.  

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