Last few years I have asked pals to hand over any CHRISTMAS CARDS they got which they were going to throw away. ONLY if they were going to throw them away, mind you. And THIS YEAR, I took that stack of ritzy  Xmas cards, real beauties, glittery, high tech, high concept, and I scissored off the part where unknown-to-me people tell my friend “THINKING OF YOU" and their signature, leaving a SUMPTUOUS FRONT unhitched so then I Stuck THE FRONT, SO GORGEOUS, SO RITZY... on to a FOLDED BOND paper and on THAT side I printed a gorgeous WITTY POEM inside and mailed it to my pals!  Patently impoverished, like wearing big calico patches on your clothing but noveau impoveriche, don't you think?


 I hate cutting off any part of a card. I used to think that one day in the distant future, people would consider our POSH pre-2008 World Depression cards to be like VICTORIAN Xmas cards might be to us today. And my grandkids would like seeing them and realize how posh we lived. But screw the future. I NEED them right now! 


So I cut off the front page with all the art, silver, gold, brilliant colors, repousse design elements, I glue it to a new backpiece, a blank piece of recycled paper. Some used to have horoscopes on one part of the page,  some are blank paper -- as a great quantity of half pieces get sent me by an equally frugal waste-hating friends. I don't know why she has so many paper tails but she cuts out the printed part when she prints things and sends me tails. Tails aren't 8 x 10, they're often 5 x 10 but I get stacks of tails. I glue them on -- so the front piece of GORGEOUS XMAS card now has a blank back end. I use a glue stick. Very neat. Now you open the card, it's blank. So I print out my poem and Glue IT ON! WHAT POEM DO I CHOOSE FOR CHRISTMAS GREETINGS?  (see below)




The clothes we wore last year,

the kettles and the pots...


And someone down the food chain

got our used stuff all the time,

prosperity Gods would smile down on us

Cuz we'd never spend a dime


The spoons and forks we eat off 

Mismatched, still feed quite nice.

I even have a pal who sends

Half used vitamins and spice .


My sweats, socks, PJ's and Nikes

Come from a gal on  Boston Coast

Her old flannel sheets and pillow cases

keep me snoring warm as toast.


If everybody sent Care packages

And drove around with used stuff in their Car, 

and braked for indigent people,

The stuff that's HERE'd go far!


Two owners for every spoon. 

Nine owners for every fork.

I'm happy with my hand-me-down tacos

'Long as my friends eat beef and pork!


And I sign it big and bold with a happy face! YER ASTROLOGER, ANITA!


I can’t buy retail gifts for my chums, not until My Bill Gates thing with selling my novels happens but I promise that the celebration I will do every CHRISTMAS after my first novel sells….is give a huge blow out Xmas party. I have my fantasy foods in mind, (mostly they involve homemade HOT pies with big balls of vanilla bean ice cream on top,) but I plan a big CHRISTMAS tree and beneath it, a hundred GIFTS and all adults have to bring every child in their immediate family. Strangers to me is OK. Why is cuz XMAS is for kids, it’s KIDDIE MAGIC and this gift giving thing blows kids out in the best way and teaches them that the world is a marvelous place. I’ll tell you how. Imagine this kid is dragged to some strange house with strange people and the gifts are being given out and someone calls out the child’s name and suddenly there’s a real, wrapped gift for THIS KID, in a group of utter adult strangers! Have you any idea what that does to the child’s mind forever after? HE KNOWS the world’s a friendly place. Miracles can happen.


So plan to give a gift to everyone that you expect will show up and have tons of reserve gifts for children or guests that you DID NOT And get the kid’s name as he arrives, and run fill in the tag! Do it as they come in the door! This feature is totally over the top but well worth it as the child never gets over it, not in their entire lifetime.


CHILDREN'S GIFTS: The thrift store is your best bet for gifts for children age 8-14. I like to buy a stack of books for each child. LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE for girls. I can’t spend 50$ on clothing, toiletries or  toys for each child, buying RETAIL, even if I COULD get a movie star astrology client as I only charge 30$ an hour. ... but THRIFT STORES AMAZE ME. Gorgeous pure cotton flannel nighties for girls. Fabulous,FLANNEL LUMBER SHIRTS, WINTER SWEATERS for boys and men.

For TEEN AGERS, little wicker baskets filled with 99c store shampoos, conditioners, Bath oils, handsoaps
a BATHOLOGY or COSMETIC BASKET. Boys get all the boy-flavored things, first shave razor, shave balm, deodorant, shampoo, soap bars in a painted basket. Even men's cologne. (Can't start boys being appetizing too early!) Posh it up with CELLOPHANE wrap,  Big Bow and BUBBLE GUMS tied to the "FOR YOU" CARD.

For girls, hit the PERFUME DISCOUNTER for “WHITE SHOULDERS” PERFUME which is so great for young girls. That and the first lipstick, “SNOW PINK” (see it online.) A First mascara. A copy of TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN and LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRARIE VOLUME I which all girls should own. They will find the other volumes.


Paint the baskets PINK with HOME DEPOT SPRAY ENAMEL and use some glitter & a big roll of cellophane to make them look like the FANCY celeb baskets which the ACADEMY gives out at the Oscars to all the back stage participants!) TOTS would of course have to get TOYS. That’s the only thing they appreciate and they have to be new, so you can’t get out of one big expedition to TOYS-R-US. Which eradicate all traces of the Scrooge in one.


The trick with a Christmas party is to have CAROLS in the air, music. You put your CD PLAYER on with the best Christmas Carol collections you can find. Johnny Mathis and Nat king Cole….and chamber music….And you leave it on, all night, until the last guest departs. Although, I’ll confess, when the party goes on too late, slyly turn the music down to almost inaudible. Nobody knows why but they are suddenly unconsciously driven to say goodbye and leave, but they will. And the gift giving doesn’t stop cuz hey, as you have a second turkey baked and ready,  ask everybody, want a doggie bag for sandwiches tomorrow? And give everybody a container and send them to the second table in kitchen to fill a doggie bag with stuffing, meat and cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes set on a very firm plate, then bagged in a big plastic bag and tied with a ribbon.   OVERKILL right? But if you spread the party’s table with delicious, inexpensive feast food it shouldn’t cost you too much as we FRUGAL FOLK know how to do that cheaply! TURKEYS, HONEYBAKED HAMS, they are costly but worth it, and HOME BAKED PIES of every sort are the Xmas concept. PECAN, PUMPKIN, APPLE are the most WINTERY. THOUGH APRICOT works well all year round. ALA MODE. Nobody ever forgets that party!