DID SOMEONE give you that best Christmas gift of all—a cheque to spend on whatever you like? Lucky you!
Of course if the purchase is already decided upon, far be it from me to change it; but if you haven’t quite made up your mind I may have a few helpful suggestions. Something for the house. I’d say. Nothing will give more fun in the choosing or more satisfaction for your money.
Perhaps the cheque is for a goodly sum, enough for a stove, a refrigerator, a shining new sink, a ventilating fan or a row of cabinets for the kitchen, a washing machine or electric ironer for the laundry, or a vacuum cleaner to attend to all the floors in the house. One of them may be just the thing you’ve set your heart on. Or perhaps you’d like to spread it around a bit—a dollar or two for this, a few cents for that and so on. It depends on the size of the cheque, of course, how far you can go, but even the small one will buy some device to make housekeeping easier or more pleasant.
Would you like to use it for paper and paint—a new color scheme for the kitchen? Or a new linoleum to replace a worn-out floor covering? Good idea, if it hasn’t recently been done over, for there is nothing like spick-and-span surroundings to make you enjoy your work. You might like to spend it on a bit of remodelling; to cut in another window or raise the sink to a convenient height, or put in a few extra electric outlets in strategic positions. Or to cover scarred cabinet tops with stain-resisting, resilient metal, easy to clean and lovely to look at.
Start the year with all the labor-saving equipment you can, for there is no virtue in doing things the same old way if you know a better one. It may be merely pots and pans you are needing, if the old ones are past their prime, chipped or battered and not quite steady on the stove. Aluminum, copper, enamel ware in different colors or oven glass—which shall it be? It’s a matter of choice, for you can find what you need in different materials. But look for the utensil that suits you in shape, size, weight and construction—a well-designed handle, properly placed and firmly fastened, and a tightly fitting cover if it has one. Remember also that too large a pan may waste the food and a too small one is a nuisance; hence the need of a good range of sizes.
Have you a can opener that can, and will, open any kind of a tin; that cuts with a clean, neat cut and hasn’t an iota of temperament about it? Such dependable can openers are on the market, and there is nothing that a modern housekeeper needs more.
How’s your cutlery—a sorry set of dull knives with loose handles, or a well-chosen assortment ready for all the cutting and slicing to be done? Have a look at the different items in this line and see if you couldn’t do with one or two of them, or a sharpener to attend to the edge.
A few people after long experience can tell by the “feel” of the oven when the temperature is right, but you won’t have to wonder and worry about it if you have an oven thermometer which you can set on a rack and read at a glance. Speaking of thermometers reminds me to remind you that there is one you can clip on the side of the pan when you are making candy, another to occupy the same ]X)sition in the frying kettle, and a roast-meat thermometer to place in the roast and tell you exactly how the inside is getting on—rare, medium or well done.
ACCURACY demands a set of measuring utensils—cups and spoon?—and as that suggests baking among other tilings, this is a good place to mention a rubber dishscraper, wooden spoons for stirring and beating, flexible spatulas, a pastry blender, a flour sifter, a cake rack, cookie cutters of different shapes and sizes, a cookie press perhaps for various sophisticated little cakes, and a pastry tube for all manner of decoration. There are. too. any number of gadgets worth considering when you are buying your own Christmas present for the house.
Perhaps you’d like a new smart set of containers for staples, or a set of refrigerator dishes to hold odds and ends. Have you seen the new refrigerator accessories designed on the lazy-Susan idea which tuck away in the refrigerator—six glass jars for six perishable foods—and turn with a touch of the finger so you can get at what you want? It’s the latest and a very good idea.
And that word glass brings to mind the utensils of heat-proof glass which really have a triple purpose—cooking, serving and storing. They come in all shapes, plain or etched, and very handsome thev are.
Bringing the kitchen up to the 1936 standard of efficiency means harnessing electricity to do much of our work for us. It will cook our food or keep it cold, make our coffee or toast or waffles, mix and stir and beat our batter and other things, bring fresh air into the room and blow stale air out. clean and polish our floors, wash our clothes or smooth out wrinkles, even dry them on a stormy day. tell us the time to a second, heat water, wash dishes—everything but
HELEN G. CAMPBELL
spank the children, it seems, and we don’t do that nowadays anyway.
You can buy electric appliances which do all these jobs efficiently and well, with no more effort to you than a turn of the switch. One of them may be your choice of a Christmas present when you’re left with the whole say about it.
New curtains or linen or paper products may be all you need in your up-to-date kitchen, and that’s another way to turn your cheque into a practical gift. Or it might be such a prosaic thing as a new floor mop—a tool that does a good job and gives satisfaction at every turn. Which makes me think of brushes and mops to make the regular cleaning of the house dustless and almost effortless—brushes for the walls, the ceiling, the corners, with stiff bristles and soft, of a shape and size to suit your purpose. How about a carpet sweeper for daily use to pick up crumbs which fall from your table, hair and lint and all unsightly specks? Or a midget vacuum cleaner for dusting upholstery. draperies and the like? Cleanliness is next to godliness, you know, and the use of proper tools is one way of achieving it.
Of course, if your cheque is big enough, you can buy a lot and build a house on it— just the kind of a house you’ve always wanted. But when it’s for something a good deal less, you can make it pay big dividends in enjoyment if you spend it on up-to-date equipment.
You may be pining to set your table with silverware in one of the latest patterns. Buy it by the chest, a few pieces or singly, and add to it as you get a little money together. Save out a few cents for a bit of polish to keep a shine on.
How about a rug for the living room, a bedroom suite, one for the dining room, or a business-like desk where you can keep all the writing supplies together and sit in comfort to answer letters, pay your bills or keep accounts? Or. shaking of correspondence, a small cheque would buy you an easy-flowing fountain pen.
Would you like a cedar chest in which to store extra blankets, pillows and winter underwear away from hungry moths?
If you “mind” the cold weather, perhaps you can turn your Christmas gift into a ticket round the world, or to a warmer clime where y^u can bask in sunshine and live luxuriously in some smart hotel. Or spend it on a car, 1936 model.
Must you stay home and look after things? Then bring the world to youself over a new radiolong wave, short wave or dual.
Your cheque may pay the first installment on an insurance policy—and that’s a word to the wise. And if it’s for one dollar only, there’s no better suggestion than a year’s subscription to your favorite magazine.
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