Many blogs participate in what has come to be known as Wordless Wednesdays. This gives bloggers a chance to share photos and to rest their weary fingers. Far be it from us to follow the beaten track. We’re considering instituting Wordy Wednesdays. I originally shared this story with readers on December 1, 2008 on One Generation to Another. I hope it brings a smile to your face during your hectic pre-Holiday preparations 🙂
For any of you that have been with me since last Christmas, you know I’ve already conceded that I am obsessive, and where Christmas is concerned, certifiably insane! Over the years I’ve created so many traditions that I need to start preparing for the Holidays in June…truth be told, I should actually begin the day after Christmas when a virtual cornucopia of perfectly good items are being marked down, but I never seem to mustard the internal fortitude necessary to battle the post Christmas crowds! My first real delve into Christmas comes in June when the women in my family go on our annual “Girl’s Trip”. (The Girl’s Trip will require several blog entries to share hair raising adventures like our night with the ice pick murderess, popping wheelies on sand dunes with a 7 person minivan…my sister-in-law never truly recovered from that one, or forgave me…and an explanation of why you should never leave 7 cowardly women alone in a wax museum!) But all this is fodder for summer writing, back to Christmas! I use the girl’s trip, with our insatiable foraging through as many shops as possible in a three day period, to begin collecting stocking stuffers and Advent tokens, thus beginning my own celebration of the season!
Anyway, one of the more evident traditions that evolved over the years was my gift wrapping practices. After a natural Darwinian evolution, my packages took on a homespun look, being wrapped in plain brown packing paper, with wide burgundy ribbons, and a heart attached to each gift, symbolizing, of course, the love that was being given along with the gift. When my children lived at home, I wrapped EVERYTHING separately; if they got a pair of socks…2 packages, a book trilogy…3 packages, and so on. I firmly believe that opening gifts is as much fun as owning what’s inside! And, besides, if it took me 6 months to prepare for Christmas, I think it should take at least 6 hours to open gifts! Okay, a little hyperbole here! Maybe not 6 hours, but a goodly amount of time! And besides, when wrapped, the gifts were beautiful and became an integral part of my Christmas decorating.
But today’s blog isn’t about wrapping gifts; it’s about what we have fondly come to call “The Great Gift Debacle”! Every year my children could ask for and get 1 gift from Santa. He’s a busy guy, right? So many children, so little time! Well, every year I would buy special Santa wrapping paper and only those 3 gifts, the ones from Santa, would be wrapped that way. They would then be tucked away until Christmas morning. The rest of the gifts, from my husband and me, were wrapped in brown paper and were also hidden until Christmas morning. As the children got a little older, I began to put a few of the gifts under the tree as they were bought and wrapped. And, as my lust for gift wrapping increased, and my propensity to wrap socks and underwear separately grew, gifts began to overflow the tree and were stacked in nooks and crannies. Eventually, all of their gifts, except for Santa’s would be under the tree days, sometimes weeks, before Christmas. For my children, having their gifts strewn about in this manner was both torture and tantalizing! For days before Christmas, the children sat around the tree, looking at gifts, shaking them, measuring them, and smelling them, trying to figure out the concealed contents.
This had become a tradition. And far be it from me to break ANY tradition. But one year, when my children were in middle school and high school, I had an idea…a scathingly brilliant idea. In order to thwart their sleuthing, I coded all their packages. I numbered each gift, and I kept the master list hidden. That year, when they picked up a gift to inspect, their only clue was a number! This put a new twist to their game. Not only did they try to figure out what was inside the package, but who it belonged to! When Christmas morning finally came around, I went to get my master list. Hmmm…I could have sworn I put it in the brown hutch. No, wait, I remember now…the last time I wrote something on it, I was at my desk. Hmmm…not there! Where did I put it? After 15 very long minutes, I gave up. I had to come back in the room and tell them I had no clue as to which packages belonged to anyone!
So, that morning, we played Christmas roulette. I’d pick up a package then look at it, shake it, measure it, and smell it and give my best guess as to who it belonged to! There was a lot of bending back the corner of boxes, as everyone tried to decide if the gift was intended for them. Snickering and out right laughter ensued as partially opened boxes sailed through the air seeking its rightful owner. It took a very long time to open gifts that morning. I’m still not sure that every box found its rightful owner, but close enough that everyone was satisfied! And, no, this did not become a new tradition. From then on, I went back to writing everyone’s names on their packages. But that Christmas morning, amidst mayhem and confusion, one of our most beloved memories was born!
BTW…around April, when I was getting something out of the china cabinet I found THE LIST! As it turned out, losing it proved to be a wonderful happenstance! Do you have a favorite holiday mishap that turned out wonderfully? Please share!