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Today we are all burning candles in our offices to hide the smell of mildew from the rain leaking through the wall and stagnating. We work to make do with what we have, which is more often intuition.

The Make Do gift is a talent you can achieve when you don't have a lot of money but you have to make something your own. Being poor or having to tolerate substandard conditions can open opportunities to see how little you need to make do.

One of my fond memories around this time of year is watching It's A Wonderful Life, the scene where George comes home from the bank on the day he's supposed to be off on his honeymoon but instead fends off bankrupcy at the Bailey Savings and Loan, the family business he reluctantly took on after his father's death. His new bride had always wanted to live in this one old, broken down house that they had passed often during their childhood, so that's what they did. She had dinner waiting, while all around her the ceiling was leaking and some windowpanes had no glass.

It's in the incense and candles, the unframed works of art, pillows on the floor. It's the bucket under the door frame in the kitchen that never seems to get mended, or the tape deck in your car held in place somewhere with a paper clip. It's also the way you can pass the Make Do gift with class, with a little flair. Beaded curtains that hide the water heater, honeysuckle vines that make a veil hiding the broken railing on your back porch. It's the romantic touches that make your place liveable, make it so that your friends understand why you like, and how it seems to suit you.

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