Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – December 2, 2004
Wrapping Christmas Presents
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – December 2, 2004 – I know it’s hard to believe, but the Princess of Procrastination started to wrap Christmas presents today. I have this plan to get the holiday “chores” out of the way so I can enjoy the season without the last minute chaos that often plagues my sanity.
This burst of seasonal activity was prompted by my earlier “feeble” attempt to write my Happy Holidays message for my newsletter. I can usually sit down at my computer, and in half an hour, bang off a genuinely, heartfelt page of script thanking my clients for their loyalty and commitment to me. Today the page stared back at me blank and uninviting. Not a thought came to mind beyond “Happy Holidays – 2004”.
What has happened to my usually razor sharp mind? Today it appeared to be elsewhere. So as not to totally give up on my notion of being seasonally productive, I decided to wrap a few Christmas presents.
I always buy cheerful bags, tissue and a dozen colours of curly ribbon, with which to festoon my many Christmas packages. No wrapping session would be complete without a big pot of tea, some chocolate chip cookies and Christmas carols. I perused my collection of music and invited Anne Murray to entertain for the afternoon. Then I collected all my gifts together in the den to decide which ones to tackle first. It was an easy decision.
The Inukshuk 12 were promptly marched down to the staging area in the kitchen and lined up for the application of tissue paper. I heard a few, “Excuse me Ma’am but I don’t like the dark” comments as I wrapped them in turn with red, white and green paper and then popped them upright into the waiting bags. Cards were added and colourful ribbons secured each little stone statue in place.
I am so looking forward to their reappearance at my December 18th dinner party. Then it will undoubtedly be a tearful parting as Inukshuk 12 – Augie and Ziggy’s “Spirit of the Animals” bids a fond farewell to his eleven brothers. They will be going away with their adoptive parents. I suppose a re-union is possible, but their lives will change dramatically once they leave home.
My next task was to look over each gift in turn and think about the person who is to be the recipient. It always gives me a warm sense of satisfaction to wrap a gift that I know a friend or family member will appreciate and treasure. By this point, Anne was crooning Silent Night (my all time favourite carol) and I was shedding a few tears for past holidays when my brother Mike and my parents were still alive. I poured a second mug of Earl Grey and finished my last cookie before selecting my next gift to wrap.
This one was my yearly contribution to Eric’s cat collection – a colourful puddy made in South Africa, he has a friendly, but smug face. I would have expected nothing less from a cat. I wrapped Dorothy’s beautiful glass bowl next, and as I did, I thought of all the wonderful meals that Eric and Dorothy have invited me to and the laughter and camaraderie we’ve shared. I know I am loved in their home and that a warm welcome always awaits me there.
Dorothy will be thrilled when she opens this gift, and every time she uses that bowl, I’ll be happy that it was my gift to her. Next came a couple of gifts for my friend Big. We always exchange wonderful presents at holiday time. We share an addiction to silver jewellery, so it’s easy and enjoyable for each of us to shop for the other. I also bought Big some snazzy, red stemmed wine glasses that she had admired at Pier One.
An appropriate gift for a friend who has dozens of beautiful dishes but never entertains. Perhaps this year, I’ll be able to brow beat her into having a dinner party. This coming from me, who entertains once a year! But keep in mind that I have big plans for 2005 in that department. Move over Martha.
By nine o’clock my cookies were long gone and a lot of my presents were sealed away inside festive bags. I still have a few more things to wrap, but about half of the task at hand has been completed. Another afternoon – a second pot of tea and a few more cookies and I’ll be finished for another year. The real fun is in watching my family and friends open the presents that I’ve wrapped for them. Their appreciation, of a gift thoughtfully selected and given with affection, is well worth the effort.
I know the holiday season can feel a bit overwhelming, but doing things a bit at a time, makes it much more enjoyable. If you establish a ritual around gift wrapping, it can actually become an enjoyable way to spend some time. With me the tea, treats and Christmas carols make it a nice tradition. If I’m still feeling a bit put upon, then I just need to remember how fortunate I am to be in a position to give and receive gifts at this wonderful time of year. Christmas should be a time to reflect on our good fortune, to acknowledge all the blessings that grace our lives and to say a thank you to the friends and family who make life worthwhile.