Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pot-latch, Potluck, Second-hand Christmas, You Do What You Gotta Do

Tomorrow we will be going over the river and through the woods to my son's grandmother's house for Thanksgiving.  My mom's house that is.  It will be all my brothers and sisters, and all of our kids and spouses.  As for almost every one of late, it's been a lean year for various reasons.  

We are having a potluck at my mom's like we have had for a few years now, but I wonder if any one really knows where the meaning of "potluck" came from.  It's funny how it ties into Thanksgiving and the "Native Americans".  

The word "potluck" comes from the native word "potlatch".  It is a festival ceremony 
practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. The actual  word comes from the Chinook Jargon, meaning "to give away" or "a gift". It went through a history of rigorous ban by both the Canadian and United States' federal governments, and has been the study of many anthropologists.  I did notice that the word "potluck" literally means "the luck of the pot" in European terms.  I laugh when I think about that.  I have personally tasted some pots that might have been considered "unlucky".  

At a potlatch a family hosts guests in their house and holds a feast.  They do this mainly to redistribute wealth that was accumulated through out the year.  I see this to be very similar to our family's gatherings.  Although we all live in a 40 mile radius, we only seem to ALL get together at Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.  We bring what we can and distribute it among each other.  On Thanksgiving it is food and stories, on Christmas Eve it is gifts and food.  This Thanksgiving it will be the news of the sex of my parents first great grandchild.  This year at Christmas we will be continuing a new tradition that we started last year; A Second-Hand Christmas.

Coming from a very large family of five brothers and two sisters, and we all have kids and spouses it has become economically impractical to give presents to all of us at Christmas.  We used to give only for the kids, but that is not feasible any more since all of our kids but two are adults or almost.  So last year I came up with a plan. 

Knowing your own family members and their likes and dislikes (at least generally) is helpful when doing a "Second-Hand Christmas".  Basically you give away things you already own.  That's the first rule.  Also, it can't be crap.  Although last year one of my brothers gave away fake dog poo.  That was funny.  I still have it. Anyway, the idea is to think about that person, and about what you think they would like out of the stuff you have in your house or garage.  Let's face it.  We all have too much stuff.  Why not get rid of some of it and at the same time make your mom happy because you know she's been coveting it every time she comes over.  Or whatever.  And save money at the same time.  I know that I like getting presents.  And as long as it's something that I like or could use, I don't care if it's new or not.  

Well enough for my holiday blog post.  Sorry if it rambles a bit.  I had a train of thought that got derailed a few times by the hubby and the dogs, but I think I made the point I was going for. 

 This lean, broke-ass year, be thankful for your family, the roof over your head, and the food that your sister didn't burn.  Be thankful that you are alive, breathing and aware that you have things to be thankful for.  You could be in a coma.

Christmas 2009  Some of us, but not all.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:18 AM

    nice picture..^_~